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Gay Men in Modern Southern Literature

Ritual, Initiation, and the Construction of Masculinity

William Mark Poteet

The concept of masculinity has had a profound influence on modern gay-written and gay-themed American Southern literature. Much of the fiction and drama of three important contemporary writers – Tennessee Williams, Charles Nelson, and Reynolds Price – has been shaped by the cultural dynamics of the Southern tradition of codified definitions and parameters of masculinity. This regional approach to literature also serves as critically protective, maintaining its focus in an effort to avoid essentializing experience and identity. Gay Men in Modern Southern Literature will be a valuable asset in the study of gender construction, literary theory, and modern American Southern writing.