Post-War Queer: Morality and the Economic Boom in Jean Genet's Querelle de Brest and John Rechy's City of Night
Ehlenbach, Matthew W.
Ortíz, Ricardo L.
It is widely known and understood that the period immediately following the Second World War was one of intense and rapid economic expansion. During this period, standards of living rose across the Western world and “middle class” economic status became increasingly common. At the same time, the Cold War took root and national cultures became increasingly socially conservative until the 1960s, a decade which culminated in the Stonewall Riots of 1969. The following thesis examines two texts from this period – Jean Genet’s Querelle de Brest (1953) and John Rechy’s City of Night (1963) – within the underlaying context of the era. Specifically, this thesis examines the ways in which nascent international systems of intergovernmental political and financial imbrication are mirrored in nationally-based rhetorics of containment of gay men. It then proceeds to examine the role that capital – and liquid assets such as cash, in particular – plays in responding to this containment and in the movement toward a queer ethic of self-representation.
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