Semester: Wintersemester 2015/2016

3.02.141 S Queer Pulp Fiction


  • Mittwoch: 16:00 - 18:00, wöchentlich


Queer Pulp Fiction
Michaela Koch
WiSe 15/16
Beware: this course is in no way related to Quentin Tarantino! On the contrary, books with suggestive titles such as Women’s Barracks (Tereska Torres, 1950), Forbidden Pleasures (Barry Devlin, 1953), Odd Girl Out (Ann Bannon, 1957), Twilight Men (André Tellier, 1957), or Strange Sisters (Flora Fletcher, 1960) sold millions of copies in the post-war United States. Printed on the cheapest paper available and adorned with salacious cover art these tales of fallen women and grief-stricken men were designed to shock ordinary housewives and to quicken the pulse of many a decent man. Navigating a slippery path between pornography and cautionary tale, publishers and authors were often only saved from severe obscenity charges by their heroes’ and heroines’ premature death or unlikely insanity. Gay and lesbian pulp novels of the 1950s and 60s form less a coherent genre than a publishing phenomenon in times of state surveillance and burgeoning consumerism. While most of these novels are long out of print and their literary merits have often been disputed, dedicated publishing houses such as Naiad or Cleis Press began to unearth some of the more controversial writings from the Golden Age of the paperback in a lesbian-feminist act of re-appropriation since the 1980s. Moreover, scholars and afficionados of the pulp novels have collected their favorite stories (and covers) in anthologies and online and have triggered not only a revival of the original pulps in the 21st century but also a re-imagination of their stories in ‘neo pulp’ novels such as the lesbian career-girl series by Monica Nolan.
During the course of the seminar we will look at these pulps as a historically situated cultural phenomenon and examine their position between McCarthyism and the Kinsey reports, between censorship and bestseller, and between exploitation and emancipation. After all, these pulps starred explicitly non-heterosexual heroes and heroines long before the Stonewall riots in 1969.
Please get hold of a copy of the following texts:
Bannon, Ann. Beebo Brinker. New edition. San Francisco: Cleis Press, 2001. Print.
Bronski, Michael. Pulp Friction: Uncovering the Golden Age of Gay Male Pulps. Stonewall Inn. New York: Griffin, 2003. Print.
Forrest, Katherine V. Lesbian Pulp Fiction: The Sexually Intrepid World of Lesbian Paperback Novels 1950-1965. San Francisco: Cleis Press, 2005. Print.

NB : Studierende, die den Kurs im Rahmen des BA Gender Studies belegen, sind herzlich willkommen und können ihre schriftlichen Prüfungsleistungen auch in deutscher Sprache verfassen.



  • ang614 Genres: Cultural, Historical and Theoretical Perspectives
  • gen230 Geschlecht und kulturelle Repräsentation
  • gen232 Geschlecht und kulturelle Repräsentation


  • Studium generale / Gasthörstudium

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Hinweise zur Teilnahme für Gasthörende
Die Veranstaltung wird in englischer Sprache gehalten.


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