As recently as the 1970s, gay and lesbian history was a relatively unexplored fieldfor serious scholars. The past quarter century, however, has seen enormous growth in gay and lesbianstudies. The literature is now voluminous, it is also widely scattered and not always easilyaccessible. In Toward Stonewall, Nicholas Edsall provides a much-needed synthesis, drawing uponboth scholarly and popular writings to chart the development of homosexual subcultures in the modernera and the uneasy place they have occupied in Western society. Edsall'ssurvey begins three hundred years ago in northwestern Europe, when homosexual subculturesrecognizably similar to those of our own era began to emerge, and it follows their surprisinglydiverse paths through the Enlightenment to the early nineteenth century. The book then turns to theVictorian era, tracing the development of articulate and self-aware homosexual subcultures. Witha greater sense of identity and organization came new forms of resistance: this was the age that sawthe persecution of Oscar Wilde, among others, as well as the medical establishment's labelingof homosexuality as a sign of degeneracy. The book's final section locatesthe foundations of present-day gay sub-cultures in a succession of twentieth-centuryscenes and events-in pre-Nazi Germany, in the lesbian world of interwar Paris, in the lawreforms of 1960s England-culminating in the emergence of popular movements in the postwarUnited States.Rather than examining these groups in isolation, the book considersthem in their social contexts and as comparable to other subordinate groups and minority movements. In the process, Toward Stonewall illuminates not only the subcultures that are its primary subjectbut the larger societies from which they emerged.
Weiterlesen weniger lesen