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Queer Cosmopolitanism in the Expatriate Literature of Berlin

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Duration: 0:21:29 | Added: 06 Apr 2016
Ben Robbins considers queer cosmopolitanism in the work of Anglophone writers who lived in Berlin during the era of the Weimar Republic.

This paper analyses a selection of Anglophone literature set in Weimar Berlin by the American and British writers Robert McAlmon, W. H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood, John Lehmann, and Stephen Spender. Not only were these writers themselves queer expatriates in Berlin during the 1920s and early 1930s, but they produced narratives of queer expatriation. I argue that these texts should be treated as a common literature that collectively explores a form of ‘queer cosmopolitanism’ in which sexual minorities disconnect from primary national identifications in order to form new international communities of belonging. As such, within this literature traditional definitions of the cosmopolitan are reformulated and resignified to accommodate the experience of oppressed minorities, whose transnational movements are catalysed under great social pressure.

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