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Available Now: The Myth of the Last Taboo

Thursday, 24 Mar 2016

The Myth of the Last Taboo: Queer Subcultural Studies by Gregory Woods, book cover

The Myth of the Last Taboo: Queer Subcultural Studies
Gregory Woods

Now available from Trent Editions.

Seismic changes took place in Western societies’ attitudes to homosexuality around the turn of the 20thand 21st centuries. At first, gay communities suffered from rabidly hostile responses to the AIDS epidemic. Those terrible years were followed by piecemeal legal reform and a gradual thaw in the way gayness was represented in popular culture. From the ‘wages of sin’ to the commercialisation of desire, from pretend families to equal marriage, gay people were eventually sucked into the mainstream of contemporary life. But how irreversible are those changes, how secure the future they promise? Best known for his literary criticism, Gregory Woods now turns his attention to journalism, film, TV, shopping, popular fiction, cartoons, the memoirs of the Beirut hostages, desert island stories, travel brochures, Italian camp, and anything else that takes his fancy. By paying close attention to the detail, he manages to convey the broader picture of a major turning-point in Western attitudes to sexuality. These essays amply demonstrate how gay and lesbian studies, far from addressing only narrow concerns, open up fresh perspectives on some of the more intractable issues of our times.

CONTENTS

Those marked (*) are published here for the first time.

1. Mourning becomes a lecture [Grieving as media stereotype and a queer cultural festival.] (*)

2. We’re here, we’re queer, and we’re not going catalogue-shopping [Shopping catalogues and the commercialisation of sexual identity.]

3. Are we not men? [Desert island narratives in fiction and film.]

4. Holidays of a lifestyle [Gay and lesbian holiday brochures.]

5. The end of Arcadia [The beginnings of the AIDS epidemic in the French gay press.]

6. Something for everyone [Lesbian and gay magazine programmes on UK television in the 1980s and 1990s.]

7. An epidemic atmosphere [The AIDS epidemic as atmospheric effect in US crime fiction, 1981-2001.]

8. It’s my nature [Moral re-branding and the de-sexing of gay men in 1990s AIDS films.]

9. Is he musical? [How movies use music to connote a standardised version of the gay man.]

10. In search of Italian camp

11. The Orient in a cell [Male love and homosexual panic in the Beirut hostage memoirs.] (*)

12. The myth of the last taboo [The journalistic cliché as an indicator of liberal optimism and conservative regrouping.] (*)

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