Advertisement

1978, the Year of Magical Thinking: Magical Realism and the Paradoxes of White Gay Ontology in Andrew Holleran’s Dancer from the Dance and Edmund White’s Nocturnes for the King of Naples

  • Nicholas F. Radel
Chapter
  • 27 Downloads

Abstract

Radel looks at the uses of magical realism in late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century gay fictions to offer a much-needed nuancing of the connections between white racial identities and homosexuality. Situating Edmund White’s Nocturnes for the King of Naples (1978) and Andrew Holleran’s Dancer from the Dance (1978) within a literary tradition that combines magic, horror, and fantasy with homoerotic elements, Radel argues the novels represent white homosexuality as something unattainable, something almost otherworldly or magical. The essay, thus, provides a new reading of early gay literature that does not link it necessarily to the post-AIDS history of white gay assimilation but that, also, reflects the necessary and perhaps inevitable incoherence of white gay ontologies.

Works Cited

  1. Barnett, Claudia. 2010, Winter. “AIDS=Purgatory: Prior Walter’s Prophecy and Angels in America.” Modern Drama 53 (4): 471–494.Google Scholar
  2. Benito, Jesús, Ana Ma Manzanas, and Begoña Simal, eds. 2009. Uncertain Mirrors: Magical Realisms in US Ethnic Literatures. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi.Google Scholar
  3. Bergman, David. 2004. The Violet Hour: The Violet Quill and the Making of Gay Culture. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Campbell, Jill. 1998. “‘I Am No Giant’: Horace Walpole, Heterosexual Incest, and Love Among Men.” The Eighteenth Century 39 (3): 238–260.Google Scholar
  5. Chanady, Amaryll. 1985. Magical Realism and the Fantastic: Resolved Versus Unresolved Antimony New York: Garland.Google Scholar
  6. Crisp, Thomas. 2009. “From Romance to Magical Realism: Limits and Possibilities in Gay Adolescent Fiction.” Children’s Literature in Education 40: 333–348.Google Scholar
  7. Damrosch, David. Introduction to World Literature. Accessed April 28, 2019. http://www.learner.org/courses/worldlit/one-hundred-years-of-solitude/read/look-closer.html.
  8. Delaney, Samuel. 1999. “Some Queer Notions About Race.” In Dangerous Liaisons: Blacks, Gays, and the Struggle for Equality, ed. Eric Brandt, 268–272. New York: The New Press.Google Scholar
  9. D’haen, Theo L. 1995. “Magical Realism and Postmodernism: Decentering Privileged Centers.” In Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community, ed. Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris, 191–208. Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Disco Guy. Disco-Disco blog. Accessed April 24, 2019. http://www.disco-disco.com/clubs/other-clubs.shtml#TF.
  11. Duberman, Martin. 2018. Has the Gay Movement Failed? Oakland, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  12. Dunning, Stefanie K. 2009. Queer in Black and White: Interraciality, Same-Sex Desire, and Contemporary African American Culture. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Dyer, Richard. 1988. “Children of the Night: Vampirism as Homosexuality, Homosexuality as Vampirism.” In Sweet Dreams: Sexuality, Gender, and Popular Fiction, ed. Susannah Radstone, 47–72. London: Lawrence & Wishart Ltd.Google Scholar
  14. Faris, Wendy B. 1995. “Scheherazade’s Children: Magical Realism and Postmodern Fiction.” In Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community, ed. Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris, 163–190. Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Ferguson, Roderick A. 2004. Aberrations in Black: Toward a Queer of Color Critique. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  16. ———. 2019. One-Dimensional Queer. Cambridge, UK and Medford, MA: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  17. Flores, Angel. 1995. “Magical Realism in Spanish America.” In Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community, ed. Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris, 108–117. Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Garber, Eric, and Lyn Paleo. 1990. Uranian Worlds: A Guide to Alternative Sexuality in Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. G. K. Hall, 1980; rev.Google Scholar
  19. Geis, Deborah R. 1997. “‘The Delicate Ecology of Your Delusions’: Insanity, Theatricality, and the Thresholds of Revelation in Kushner’s Angels in America.” In Approaching the Millennium: Essays on Angels in America, ed. Deborah R. Geis and Stephen F. Kruger, 199–209. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  20. Haggerty, George E. 1986. “Literature and Homosexuality in the Late Eighteenth Century: Walpole, Beckford, and Lewis.” Studies in the Novel 18 (4): 341–352.Google Scholar
  21. Hartigan, John, Jr. 2005. Odd Tribes: Toward a Cultural Analysis of White People. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Holleran, Andrew. 1978. Dancer from the Dance. New York: William Morrow and Co.Google Scholar
  23. Johnson, Diane. 1996, Fall. “The Midwesterner as Artist.” Review of Contemporary Fiction 16 (3): 69–72.Google Scholar
  24. Leavitt, David. 1999. “David Leavitt.” In Something Inside: Conversations with Gay Fiction Writers, ed. Philip Gambone, 45–54. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  25. Lopez, Matthew. 2018. The Inheritance. London: Faber and Faber.Google Scholar
  26. McClatchy, J. D. 1978, Fall. “Baroque Inventions.” Shenandoah 30 (1): 97–98.Google Scholar
  27. Menon. Madhavi. 2017. Indifference to Difference: On Queer Universalism. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  28. Muñoz, José Estaban. 1999. Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  29. Radel, Nicholas F. 2008, Winter. “(E)racing Edmund White: Queer Reading, Race, and Sexuality in A Boy’s Own Story.” Modern Fiction Studies 54 (4): 766–790.Google Scholar
  30. ———. 2019. “Nocturnes for the King of Naples.” In Crashing Cathedrals: Edmund White by the Book, ed. Tom Cardamone, 38–48. New York: Itna Press.Google Scholar
  31. Riggs, Damien W. 2006. Priscilla, (White) Queen of the Desert: Queer Rights/Race Privilege. New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  32. Sandín, Lyn Di Iorio, and Richard Perez, eds. 2012. Moments of Magical Realism in US Ethnic Literatures. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  33. Schopp, Andrew. 2016. “The Gay Great Gatsby: Andrew Holleran’s Dancer from the Dance and the Dismantling of Normative Cultural Frames.LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory 27 (2): 153–171.Google Scholar
  34. Schroeder, Shannin. 2009. Rediscovering Magical Realism in the Americas. Westport, CT and London: Praeger.Google Scholar
  35. Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. 1990. Epistemology of the Closet. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  36. Somerville, Siobhan B. 2000. Queering the Color Line: Race and the Invention of Homosexuality in American Culture. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Stokes, Mason. 2001. The Color of Sex: Whiteness, Heterosexuality, and the Fictions of White Supremacy. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Warnes, Christopher. 2009. Magical Realism and the Postcolonial Novel. Houndmills, UK and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  39. Wester, Maisha. 2007, Fall. “Haunting and Haunted Queerness: Randall Kenan’s Re-inscription of Difference in A Visitation of Spirits.” Calaloo 30 (4): 1035–1053.Google Scholar
  40. White, Edmund. 1980. Nocturnes for the King of Naples. Harmondsworth and New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  41. Zamora, Lois Parkinson, and Wendy B. Faris, eds. 1995. Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community. Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas F. Radel
    • 1
  1. 1.Furman UniversityGreenvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations