Queer Voice in the 19th and 20th Century Writers workshop 012920
January 29, 2020

Workshop: The Queer Voice in 19th and 20th Century Writers

Come join us January 29th from 5:30-7:30pm for this FREE workshop presented by David Morden, Associate Professor of Voice and Movement in the School of Theatre, Film and Television at the University of Arizona.


ENR2 Building
University of Arizona

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We will look at the writings of queer playwrights and authors to examine how their voices shaped public perception of homosexuality while masquerading as straight voices. We will look at their writings – and lives – beginning with Oscar Wilde. Wilde wrote with a wit that, in hindsight, is excruciatingly gay, but was seen as simply the pinnacle of fashion in Victorian England. In the twentieth century, Noel Coward picked up the mantle of British roué and wrote plays with sparkling language, complex characters and, often, slightly scandalous plotlines. He, too, was extremely popular with audiences, who heard the queer voice uttered by ostensibly straight characters. In the realm of the novel, came the voices of Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West. Now, the public began to hear a woman’s voice speaking of love between two women disguised as heterosexual coupling. As the twentieth century progressed, other voices became emboldened and the voice of queer authors began to show up in plays of Mae West, Tennessee Williams and Lillian Hellman. Then, the 1960s happened and queerness began to claim its rightful place in literature, beginning with The Boys in the Band and continuing in the works of Jane Wagner, Alice Walker, Terrance McNally and, Tony Kushner, among many others. In the two hours of this workshop, we will trace this line from Victorian England to modern America, using excerpts and media clips to see how the queer voice changed over the 19th, 20th and start of the 21st century.