© 2019

The Queer Cultures of 1930s Prose

Language, Identity and Performance in Interwar Britain


  • Explores queer lives through ?literary texts, letters, diaries, autobiographical writings and works of cultural commentary

  • Includes analysis of so-called ‘queer heterosexual’ authors of the period alongside their homosexual contemporaries

  • Traces the impact of the Great War on the development of the English language


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Charlotte Charteris
    Pages 1-25
  3. Charlotte Charteris
    Pages 107-185
  4. Charlotte Charteris
    Pages 187-258
  5. Charlotte Charteris
    Pages 259-271
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 273-285

About this book


Offering a radical reassessment of 1930s British literature, this volume questions the temporal limits of the literary decade, and broadens the scope of queer literary studies to consider literary-historical responses to a variety of behaviours encompassed by the term ‘queer’ in its many senses. Whilst it is informed by the history of sexuality in twentieth-century Europe, it is also profoundly concerned with what Christopher Isherwood termed ‘the market value of the Odd.’ Drawing, for its methodology, on the work of Raymond Williams, it traces the impact of the Great War on the development of language, examining the use of ten ‘keywords’ in the prose of Christopher Isherwood, Evelyn Waugh and Patrick Hamilton, and that of their respective literary milieux, in order to establish how queer lives and modern sub-cultural identities were forged collaboratively within the fictional realm. By utilizing contemporary perspectives on performativity in conjunction with detailed close readings it repositions these authors as self-conscious agents actively producing their own queer masculinities through calculated acts of linguistic transgression.


Queer cultures Queer lives Interwar writing Interwar Britain Long 1930s Christopher Isherwood Evelyn Waugh Patrick Hamilton Subversive sexuality Gender performativity Gender Trouble (1990) Raymond Williams

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of CambridgeCambridgeUK

About the authors

Charlotte Charteris is a former Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in English and By-Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, specializing in literature of the fin-de-siècle, modernist and mid-twentieth-century periods, with a particular interest in queer studies and the aesthetics of transgression.

Bibliographic information