Richard Nugent and Sexual Dissidence Analytical Essay

Richard Nugent and Sexual Dissidence
This paper focuses on the transgressive content of Harlem Renaissance writer, Richard Bruce Nugent.
# 117048 | 2,540 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2009 | US

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This paper discusses how Harlem Renaissance writer, Richard Bruce Nugent's attention to love between men and male beauty demonstrates a degree of sexual dissidence, which black writers were expected to bear. The paper uses A.B. Christa Schwarz's book, "Gay Voices of the Harlem Renaissance" as a critical vehicle to analyze the stories, "Tree with Kerioth Fruit" and "Slender Length of Beauty."

From the Paper:

"Although Nugent's stories rebel against older Harlem Renaissance author's philosophies, it does not do Nugent's work appropriate justice to claim that their main function was to rebel against the burden of representation. Richard Bruce Nugent, perhaps more than any other member of the Niggeratti, was a well-rounded artist whose writing clearly shows his appreciation for purely aesthetic literature versus writing for distinct social and political purposes. Nugent's focus on using controversial displays of homosexuality in his stories nevertheless qualifies his work as sexually dissident, and it is equally clear that he both rejected the burden of representation and refused to follow the standards set by other African American Renaissance writers or white critics. Nugent's Bible Stories, though they remained unpublished until the long after the Harlem Renaissance, showed that Nugent was a transgressive author. Through displaying strong emotional bonds between men, Nugent shows how easily brotherly love in male dominated world can seem to organically transform into homosexual desires, and fitting these bonds into the framework of Christian mythology, Nugent criticizes the moral code that Harlem Renaissance writers expected him to follow."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Nugent, Richard Bruce. Gay Rebel of the Harlem Renaissance: Selections from the Work of Richard Bruce Nugent. Ed. Thomas H. Wirth. Duke UP, 2002.
  • Schwarz, A. B. Christa. Gay voices of the Harlem Renaissance. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2003.

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