Epilogue: Secrets of the African-American Bisexual Man; or, Double Lives on the Down Low

Scott Herring

in Queering the Underworld

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2007 | ISBN: 9780226327907
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226327921 | DOI:
Epilogue: Secrets of the African-American Bisexual Man; or, Double Lives on the Down Low

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As nineteenth-century secrets of the city morphed into twentieth-century settlement house autobiographies, realist tramping tales, and sensational Sapphic novels, so too have instances of queer slumming taken unexpected cultural turns in the U.S. imaginary during the twenty-first century. The corollary to this claim also holds true: by no means did slumming literature's obsession with sexual knowledge—or the desperate modes of queer slumming that countered this obsession—vanish once homosexual group identity crystallized across the American scene. If anything, slumming's mania is still too present, extending well beyond literatures into a host of media—lowbrow television talk shows, highbrow independent art films, and gay lifestyle magazine cartoons, to name but three—that contest and confirm persistent forms of spectacularization. This chapter explores some rhetorical echoes of earlier queer slumming literatures, focusing on discourses that inform slumming investigations of the down low.

Keywords: queer slumming; Sapphic novels; slumming literature; sexual knowledge; spectacularization; down low

Chapter.  7032 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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