A Comparative Study of Human Reproduction by Clellan Stearns Ford PDF

By Clellan Stearns Ford

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Indeed the beauty of artistic form (according to Kundera) is what makes knowledge possible. What is necessary, as George saw, is to insist that the monstrous be acknowledged, not wished away or exaggerated. The difficulty of writing gay literature lies in knowing how to refuse these too-easy narratives, to tell one's story without selling out to the Strunks. Another way to put this would be to say that the best, and most dangerous, gay Page 11 literature refuses to turn gay men into victims. The modern American faggot is not content to be innocent, cute, or helpless.

My claim is more modest: that within the field of gay writing, these are the works that are most "resistant" and thus offer the most strenuous pleasures to an attentive reader. And in my present view, Leavitt's flaw has nothing to do with his situation of the gay man in his family nor with his sexual prissiness. "The Term Paper Artist," one of the three novellas in his new book Arkansas (1997), emphasizes neither. And yet the story is (to my mind) obscene not because of sex, but because of Leavitt's ingratiating smarminess.

Strunk, George supposes, tries to nail him down with a word. Queer, he doubtless growls. But, since this is after all the year 1962, even he may be expected to add, I don't give a damn what he does just as long as he stays away from me. Even psychologists disagree as to the conclusions which may be reached about the Mr. Strunks of this world, on the basis of such a remark. The fact remains that Mr. Strunk himself, to judge from a photograph of him taken in football uniform at college, used to be what many would call a living doll.

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A Comparative Study of Human Reproduction by Clellan Stearns Ford


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