"The one duty we owe to history is to rewrite it." – Oscar Wilde, “The Critic as Artist”
“The Harlem Renaissance was surely as gay as it was black.” —Henry Louis Gates Jr., “The Black Man’s Burden”
Two years ago marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, which for many marks the beginning of the modern LGBTQ rights movement in the US and even around the world. But what led up to this moment? In this lecture, we will take a quick jaunt through some of the wildest and most wonderful writing done by late nineteenth and early to mid-20th century queer poets, visionaries, fighters, and lovers.
We will meet Oscar Wilde and his circle of lovers, friends and enemies; Wilfred Owen and other young queer poets and lovers of World War I, Radclyffe Hall, perhaps the first prominent trans novelist; Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury group; Edna St. Vincent Millay and the queer Village literati; Langston Hughes, Nella Larsen, and the queer Black poets and writers of the Harlem Renaissance and beyond (Lorraine Hansberry died only 3 years before Stonewall); also some other lesser known lights who fueled change.