Queer literary interpretation

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Queer literary interpretation is a method of literary interpretation stemming from Marxism, Feminism, psychoanalysis and the gay rights movement. It is an addition to literary theory in the 1980s.

Only partially based on gay, lesbian and bisexual issues, a queer literary interpretation is largely concerned with sexual identity, especially "closeted" (hidden) sexual identity. Other "closeted" aspects of works are often examined, as well.

There are opposing views of queer literary theory. One view is that sexual identity is "fixed", and may be discerned by careful study. The opposing view is that sexual identity is both fluid and socially constructed, and thus there is no "absolute" identity.

Questions that a queer literary interpretation might attempt to answer:

  • What does the work tell the reader about the author's sexual identity?
  • Conversely, how might the author's sexual identity affect different aspects of work?
  • What doesn't the author tell the reader about the sexual identities of his or her characters? How this omission significant?
  • What aspects of the work has the author silenced or closeted, in order to gain the approval of society?

A traditional work of literature can be "queered" by applying this type of interpretation.

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