Title
The classic coming out novel : unacknowledged challenges to the heterosexual mainstream The classic coming out novel : unacknowledged challenges to the heterosexual mainstream
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Arts. Linguistics and Literature
Publication type
article
Publication
West Chester, Pa ,
Subject
Literature
Source (journal)
College literature. - West Chester, Pa, 1974, currens
Volume/pages
39(2012) :1 , p. 94-118
ISSN
0093-3139
1542-4286
ISI
000299666900006
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
The Classic Coming Out Novel: Unacknowledged Challenges to the Heterosexual Mainstream The coming out novel has repeatedly come under fire for complying with heterodominance through its supposed focus on visibility and its believed teleology. The article counters these criticisms by means of three classic coming out stories. Audre Lorde's Zami problematizes the primacy of visibility associated with the genre, focusing on those who do not exhibit the presupposed visible markers and countering the essentialism that follows from an equation of visibility and identity. Zami as well as Edmund White's A Boy'sOwn Story and Jeanette Winterson's Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit exhibit a non-linear structure, showing that the coming out novel does not always unfold chronologically until sexual identity is established. A gay or lesbian identity, moreover, is not necessarily the genre's sole end product. Rather than complying with heterodominance, classic coming out novels such as Zami, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, and A Boy's Own Story actually present unacknowledged challenges to the heterosexual mainstream.
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