Title page for ETD etd-04232012-132803


Type of Document Dissertation
Author McCray, Brigitte Natalie
Author's Email Address bmccra4@lsu.edu
URN etd-04232012-132803
Title Queer Utopian Geographies and Cold War Poetry
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department English
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kronick, Joseph G. Committee Chair
Kahan, Benjamin A. Committee Member
Lewis, Carolyn f. Committee Member
Novak, Daniel A. Committee Member
Pecchioni, Loretta L. Dean's Representative
Keywords
  • utopia geography poetry
Date of Defense 2012-04-19
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Queer Utopian Geographies and Cold War Poetry intervenes in the general narrative about Cold War culture, made even more famous by such recent popular shows like Mad Men and Pan Am, that describes the era as a repressed society in desperate need of liberation. While indeed Cold War America was a time of paranoia and loyalty oaths, even before the Stonewall Riots of 1969 gay men and lesbians found subtle ways to resist popular media and government discourse that perpetuated the myth that the homosexual was the anti-citizen. A number of gay men and lesbians traveled extensively to escape this Cold War culture, and it is through the trope of geography in the terrain of Cold War poetry that readers recognize that resistance is able to occur under authority’s nose and outside closely controlled places. This forces us to confront the assumption that resistance needs to be violent and highly visible in order to be successful. For instance, my project argues that the poetry of W.H. Auden, Elizabeth Bishop, Frank O’Hara, and Allen Ginsberg represents utopian concepts. Not only do the poets depict geographical space as offering utopian possibility, but they also reveal how daily moments and experiences provide hope, what I refer to as utopian practice throughout the project. Furthermore, these practices and spaces typically conjure queer specters of the past and these hauntings also point to a hopeful future. This dissertation claims that, while scholars and readers cannot ignore the negativity of Cold War homophobia, these poets actively worked to reshape the world at the literal level and through lyric subjectivity.
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