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Provincial Queens

The Gay and Lesbian Community in the North-West of England

Mike Homfray

What do we mean by ‘the gay community’? What is the state of ‘gay and lesbian politics’ in contemporary Britain? Have ‘communitarian’ ideas provided a framework for change? And what is the view from outside the capital? Recent years have seen both significant legal and social reform benefiting lesbian and gay people under a government whose communitarian political credo has stressed the importance of ‘community’ and ‘rights and responsibilities’. What effect has this had? What is the influence of identity, space and location, politics, and community itself? On the basis of qualitative research with gay men and lesbians working for change in Liverpool and Manchester, the author examines whether gay and lesbian equality and the idea of ‘the gay community’ can be understood and furthered within a framework of communitarian ideas.


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Acknowledgements This book began its life as a research project for my doctorate, and would not have come to fruition without Chris Jones, my supervisor, now enjoying retirement in Todmorden and Greece! Thanks to the staff at Peter Lang, David Edmonds, copy-editor, and in particular Helena Sedgwick, who coped with my incompetence with regard to the noble art of formatting Finally – my partner David, who was remarkably patient with regards to my preference for working until 4am. His love and support saw me through the difficult times. Contents Introduction 7 Chapter One The Aesthetic and Political Situation in the Weimar Republic 19 Chapter Two Bertolt Brecht: “Contradictions are Our Hope!” 51 Chapter Three Friedrich Wolf: Empathy Through Estrangement 97 Chapter Four Gustav von Wangenheim: “An Important, but Unknown Dramatist” 131 Chapter Five The Legacy of Proletarian-Revolutionary Theater in the GDR 155 Conclusion 209 Notes 219 Bibliography 235 Index 251

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