Monday, December 4th, 2017...9:16 pmolearyc

Anthology Introduction

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When studying the Harlem Renaissance and Celtic Revival, sexuality is driving force in drawing parallels between these two movements. Throughout the Harlem Renaissance, authors like Langston Hughes combatted previous conventions of sexuality and depicted sexual attraction as capable of crossing racial lines. Additionally, authors like Claude Mckay introduced queer desire among African American individuals and is widely acclaimed for his works regarding sexuality. The works of both writers can be synthesized in that both individuals made progressive strides in painting a more inclusionary image of sexuality. Despite these positive outcomes of the Harlem Renaissance, there were several instances depicted in poetry of sexual immorality such as prostitution that prompted objectification of women and gestured towards conventional stereotypes. This raises the question: How is one to interpret the overall progression regarding sexuality in the movement when there is a prevalent dissonance between the positive sentiment surrounding racial mixing and the introduction of queer desire contrasted with  negative sentiment regarding sexaul explotation? This dichotomy helps readers to recognize similar patterns throughout the movement of the Celtic Revival. Although the Celtic Revival is marked by alluring romanticism often depicted in W.B Yeat’s poetry, Often issues of wife beating, sexuality, and same sex attraction were taboo in Irish society. Women in particular experienced heightened sexual repression due to their involvement with the Catholic church. Although both the Harlem Renaissance and Celtic Revival are markers of tremendous innovation and liberation among artists, both movements suffered from either acts of sexual repression, violence, or adhered to previous conventions of sexuality.



3 Comments

  • Is the purpose of your anthology to draw a parallel between the two movements (implying that sexuality works the same in each), or is sexuality a common element in the two movements? How do you plan to organize and discuss female expressions of desire, deviant sexualities (queer desire), and objectification/poor treatment of women in the historical and literary context?

  •   Aliya Nichols
    December 7th, 2017 at 4:41 am

    I really like how you are noticing similar injustices of gender and sexuality throughout the two movements. I think your interpretation of sexuality will be somewhere along the lines of how the inequality of gender and injustices regarding sexual orientation are consistent cross movements. I think you should consider analyzing The Dead because it shows how Gabriel belittled women yet they had such an impact on him.

  •   Professor Seiler
    December 8th, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    Caroline–since we’ve talked since you wrote this post, let me just add to your peers’ comments that it’ll be helpful to differentiate between sexuality per se and sexual violence.

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