Mainstream Fiction, Gay Reviewers, and Gay Male Cultural Politics in the 1970s

GLQ: A Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies 16, no. 3 (2010): 389-427. DOI 10.1215/10642684-2009-036.

glq16no3coverAbstract: An analysis of gay male reviewers’ responses to major commercial publishers’ expanded offerings of fiction by and about gay people during the 1970s reveals how reviewers constructed a machinery of gay-identified criticism, negotiated new definitions of gay identity, and forged a community of gay intellectuals and authors intent on using their own mainstream success to make evident to all the creativity and value of contemporary gay life. By decade’s end, this gay literary elite had developed ideas about gay cultural politics and the proper relationship between activism and commercial cultural production that differed distinctly from those of gay political organizations and other gay activists. These developments sketch a richer and more complicated story of the evolution of gay identity and gay politics—particularly the politics of visibility—after Stonewall.

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