Gay Studies / Literature & Criticism / American Studies



Gaiety Transfigured
Gay Self-Representation in American Literature
David Bergman

Wisconsin Project on American Writers

"[Gaiety Transfigured ] is the best contribution I've read so far to the newly emerging field of gay studies in contemporary literature."

"... Whether introducing us to gay scholars and imaginative writers from earlier in this century, pinpointing the four shared characteristics of modern European and American gays, tracing Walt Whitman's legacy, exploring the role of the family in current gay fiction or explaining why gays in the past were so drawn to ethnography, David Bergman proves that his common sense, subtlety, curiosity, and intelligence are adequate to his extraordinary ambitions."—Edmund White, author of A Boy's Own Story

Bergman analyzes the writings of such famous American writers as Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, Tennessee Williams, James Baldwin, F. O. Matthiessen, and Larry Kramer. He considers the entire range of literature, including poetry and drama, and gives attention to African or Native American themes in the work of Alain Locke, Countee Cullen, Francis Grierson, David Plante and others.

"An important contribution to gay and lesbian studies. Bergman presents a thoughtful discussion of a wide range of writers and issues, and he deals incisively with the complex, often subtly coded artistic forms that gay men have developed to work within (and against) the dominant heterosexual culture."—William Cain, In These Times

"One of the most interesting observations David Bergman makes in Gaiety Transfigured  is how crucial reading has been to the formation of gay identity.... Bergman's book contains much informed observation about how gay men have represented themselves, constructed literary traditions and traditions of self understanding."—Robert Dawidoff, Lambda Book Report

"Reading... Gaiety Transfigured   is like sitting before the woodstove with your favorite gay uncle for a leisurely evening of good conversation.... Bergman is telling both my tale and your tale through the skillful combination of his own work and his uncanny perception of the underlying sense and gay continuity in the works of literature he is examining."—Jack Garman, Gay Paper

"[Bergman's] eclecticism and pragmatic use of literary theory... are strengths in a book that conveys the lived and living importance for gay people of imagining a self."—Virginia Quarterly Review

"A landmark contribution to the developing field of gay studies. Its two initial chapters describe sensitively and accurately being gay in America, showing the paradox of alienation and belonging this orientation generates, the closely knit subculture it has spawned. A volume in 'The Wisconsin Project on American Writers,' this book reflects the high quality of this series.... An essential book, enthusiastically recommended."—Virginia Choice

David Bergman is professor of English at Towson State University and author of Cracking the Code, winner of the 1985 George Elliston Poetry Prize.


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Bergman's book is purple with a black and white photograph of two men--one solid, one transparent, facing away from eachother

September 1991
250 pp.          6 x 9
ISBN 0-299-13054-1 Paper $14.95 s

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