Terrence McNally and Fifty Years of American Gay Drama

by John Clum


"This book is a must read for everyone interested in American theatre and LGBT studies ... Given Clum's avowed focus on 'plays that deal in some way with homosexuality,' one might view his study as political; however, it is founded by rigorous scholarship and clarity, and Clum acknowledges the playwright's assistance and support (xviii). Clum enriches his book by providing extensive historical context that situates McNally's plays in their contemporary social and cultural milieu; at the same time he makes his survey of McNally and contemporary American gay drama seem exceedingly relevant." —Theatre Journal

"This is an original contribution to the field. No scholar has contextualized McNally quite this way. The great strength of this study lies in its placing of this playwright within an ongoing narrative history of the American stage. John Clum does an excellent job of showing the various ways in which McNally maps out gay concerns, concerns that contribute to the rhetoric of nationhood, the symbology of the Self, and to what more broadly constitutes the “Americanness” of American drama. Not only is the author’s knowledge impressive; he seems to be on the cutting edge of gay discourse and gay theater in America. He writes with a confident command of the field. The book impresses with its analytical rigorous yet readable style." —Matthew Roudané, Regents Professor of American Drama, Georgia State University

"This is a thorough study of Terrence McNally. The context of gay theatre, gay New York, and gay history is masterfully incorporated, making this book valuable at multiple levels—literary to biographical to historical.” —William W. Demastes, Alumni Professor of English, Louisiana State University; and author of Comedy Matters


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