Introduction: Language, Identity and Performance

  • Charlotte Charteris


Drawing on the implications of historical definitions of the queer, the introduction situates the book within a universalizing queer literary studies alert to a range of non-normative masculinities and femininities, before making the case for a ‘long 1930s’ that, contingent upon memory, broadens the scope of the literary decade to incorporate texts completed into the 1940s and beyond. With these departures in mind, it then turns to Raymond Williams’s work on keywords, arguing—with reference to contemporary perspectives on performativity—that an understanding of how self-consciously interwar writers Christopher Isherwood, Evelyn Waugh and Patrick Hamilton use—and, more importantly, abuse—everyday language is key to establishing how active they were in constructing, communicating and affirming their own queer identities and those of the distinct sub-cultural communities to which they belonged.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charlotte Charteris
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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