Robert Dessaix and the aestheticisation of Australian gay Men

Hughes, Greg. (2002). Robert Dessaix and the aestheticisation of Australian gay Men MPhil Thesis, School of English, Media Studies and Art History, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Hughes, Greg.
Thesis Title Robert Dessaix and the aestheticisation of Australian gay Men
School, Centre or Institute School of English, Media Studies and Art History
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2002
Thesis type MPhil Thesis
Supervisor Leigh Dale
Total pages 195
Collection year 2002
Language eng
Subjects L
751001 Languages and literature
420399 Cultural Studies not elsewhere classified
Formatted abstract
Despite arguments to the contrary, the aestheticisation of homosexuality is alive and well. To emphasise the major roles played by homosexuality and homosexuals in the development of aesthetics within western culture, it is useful to consider this phenomenon as homosexual-inflected aesthetics. This is evident in a wide variety of art forms, throughout a range of cultures, but literature is the primary site where debates about the nature and value of the aestheticisation of homosexuality are played out. This is true of Australia, where an analysis of Robert Dessaix the public persona, as well as of his writing, brings to the fore some of the major areas of debate affecting the representation of Australian gay men. Dessaix's writing plays a significant role in the contemporary aestheticisation of Australian gay men which is explored in two sections in this thesis. Each section has two parts, consisting of a contextualising chapter followed by a related discussion focusing on Night Letters. The first section considers Dessaix's engagement with Europe and section two considers his engagement with Australia. Dessaix's work is part of a long and rich historical tradition of the aestheticisation of homosexuality, an argument which is made in Chapter One, "'A Cultured Queen' The Homosexual-Inflected Aesthetics of Robert Dessaix." The aestheticisation of homosexuality engaged with in Night Letters is contextualised within the traditions of a number of writers in Chapter Two "A Reading of Night Letters: Travelling with Dante, Gide, Wilde, and Mann.'" Chapter Three, "The Queen, the Quill and the Manuscript': Robert Dessaix and the Publishing and Marketing of Gay Writing and Authors in Australia," discusses Dessaix's relationship with the publishing industry in Australia and raises a number of controversial issues about the representation of Australian gay men. It considers, for example, why terms like "gay author" and "gay writing" might matter. Perhaps the most vigorously and emotionally charged debates about the aestheticisation of homosexuality revolve around HIV/AIDS writing. Chapter Four, "A Defence of Art, Life and Buggery: 'Refusing the Name' AIDS in Night Letters," considers these issues. It is argued that Dessaix's writing represents a complicated and ambivalent attitude towards gay identity, sexuality and culture that is worked through as a series of engagements with the idea of the literary itself.
Keyword Dessaix, Robert, 1944-
Gays' writings, Australian

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (RHD) - UQ staff and students only
 
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Created: Fri, 24 Aug 2007, 18:04:15 EST