Articles

Self, Performance and Queer militancy in Isherwood’s A Single Man

Rajorshi Das

Indraprastha College for Women, Delhi

 Volume VII, Number 2, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.25274/bcjms.v7n2.v7n2eng01

Abstract

Set in 1962 United States, Christopher Isherwood’s A Single Man (1964), initially conceptualised as An English Woman, is considered to be the author’s magnum opus. It focuses on a day in the life of the protagonist, George – a Los Angeles professor who struggles to cope up with the bereavement of his male partner and finds himself in a state of perpetual exile. While the trope of loneliness (central to many queer writings) is integral to the understanding of the protagonist’s psyche, I argue that it is the Modernist “ethos of impersonality” (Gonzalez 758)[i] that allows us to explore the notions of minority consciousness[ii] and gay identity politics in contemporary times.

Keywords: Christopher Isherwood, A Single Man, queer, performance, queer militancy

[i] Gonzalez (2013) in fact argues that the novel is a celebration of identity politics as a primary “weapon of literary-cultural gay activism” (758).

[ii] Claude Summers (2007) identifies this as the central concern of the novel