The changing depiction of homosexual people in twentieth-century British drama
Brayne, Alan (1988) The changing depiction of homosexual people in twentieth-century British drama. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
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Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1453707~S15
This thesis studies how the image of homosexual people has evolved on
the British stage during the present century. It aims to discern general
trends rather than compile an exhaustive list of plays containing
homosexual characters. Similarly, it is not intended to be a compendium
of homosexual playwrights, but will focus on the contents of the drama
rather than the biographical details of authors' lives. It makes no
attempt to analyse work that is not ostensibly homosexual which could
be argued to contain latent homosexual content. Nor, finally, does
it discuss phenomena of interest in this field which are tangential to
the area of study - for example, cross-dressing in pantomime and music
hall. At the risk of superficiality, it concentrates on plays that
have tried to discuss homosexuality and depict gay characters in an
open, straight-forward manner.
The approach taken to the subject has been historical and
sociological, linking developments in gay drama to the social and
political situation facing homosexual people throughout the present
century. As such, this thesis argues for the existence of seven
stages in homosexual drama during this time. While plays cannot
always be fitted into a rigid chronological schema - some overlap
clearly occurs - the history of homosexual drama can be briefly
summarised as follows: -
2) The first plays depict homosexual characters, but these
are generally censored heavily or closed down.
3) Plays begin to raise the subject more boldly, but only
by portraying characters who are wrongly accused of
homosexuality or about whose sexuality there is left
4) Homosexual characters are depicted openly as such, but
they conform to degrading stereotypes.
5) Gay people break away to create their own separatist
drama, generally intending to proselytise in favour of
6) Mainstream plays on the West End and television begin
to feature gay people in an unsensationalised way.
7) AIDS arrives and dominates homosexual drama.
Although this study concentrates on British drama, theatre is now
an international phenomenon, and this has been especially true of gay
drama. Therefore, it has often been necessary to refer to the drama of
other countries, in particular America.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||P Language and Literature > PR English literature|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Homosexuality in literature, English drama -- 20th century|
|Official Date:||June 1988|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||Department of Theatre Studies|
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