Born in Hamilton, Sargeson has been credited with introducing New Zealand English into short stories. His technique was to write the story without mentioning the setting. He also used a semi-articulate style which means that the story was written from a naive point of view. Events are simply told but are not explained.
Although Sargeson became known for his literary depiction of the laconic and unsophisticated New Zealand male, his upbringing had in fact been comfortable albeit puritanical. Upon completing his training as a solicitor, he spent two years in the United Kingdom. Sometime in the 1930s, he began living year-round in his parents' holiday cottage at 14A Esmonde Road in Takapuna which was then a northern suburb of Auckland but is now in North Shore City. He eventually inherited the property which became for several decades an important gathering place for Auckland's bohemia and literati.
When Janet Frame was released in 1955 from eight years of voluntary incarceration in New Zealand psychiatric hospitals, Sargeson invited her to stay in an ex-army hut on his property. He introduced her to other writers and affirmed her literary vocation and encouraged her to adopt good working habits. She lived in the shed for about a year, during which time she wrote her first novel, Owls Do Cry.
During the 1930s and 40s, Sargeson experienced considerable economic hardship, as his literary output earned him very little money. This experience left him permanently sympathetic to the Left. For example, he quietly advocated closer relations between New Zealand and Maoist China. He was also gay at a time and in a place when homosexuality was illegal in New Zealand. In 1929, he was arrested on a morals charge in Wellington, but later acquitted. King (1995) believes that this trial explains why Sargeson adopted a pen name and never practiced the profession for which he had trained.
Sargeson died in Auckland.
Frank Sargeson: A Life by Michael King
Hardcover: 478 pages
Publisher: Viking/Allen Lane; illustrated edition edition (November 30, 1995)
Amazon: Frank Sargeson: A Life
Sexual Encounters: Pacific Texts, Modern Sexualities by Lee Wallace
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Cornell University Press (May 8, 2003)
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European literary, artistic, and anthropological representation has long viewed the Pacific as the site of heterosexual pleasures. The received wisdom of these accounts is based on the idea of female bodies unrestrained by civilization. In a revisionist history of the Pacific zone and some of its preeminent Western imaginists, Lee Wallace suggests that the fantasy of the male body, rather than of the free-loving female, provides the underlying libidinal structure for many of the classic "encounter" narratives from Cook to Melville. The subject of Sexual Encounters is sexual fantasy, particularly male homoerotic fantasy found in the literature and art of South Sea exploration, colonization, and settlement. Working at the boundaries of a number of disciplines such as queer theory, anthropology, postcolonial studies, and history, Wallace engages in subversive readings of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Pacific voyage journals (Cook in Hawaii and a Russian expedition to the Marquesas), an argument concerning Gauguin's treatment of female figures, and a discussion of homosexuality and Samoan male-to-female transgenderism. These phenomena, Wallace asserts, demonstrate the continuity and dissonance between Western and Pacific sexual categories. She reconstructs Pacific history through the inevitable entanglement of metropolitan and indigenous sexual regimes and ultimately argues for the importance of the Pacific in defining modern sexual categories.
Out Takes: Essays on Queer Theory and Film (Series Q) by Ellis Hanson
Paperback: 376 pages
Publisher: Duke University Press Books (April 12, 1999)
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This collection brings together the work of both film scholars and queer theorists to advance a more sophisticated notion of queer film criticism. While the “politics of representation” has been the focus of much previous gay and lesbian film criticism, the contributors to Out Takes employ the approaches of queer theory to move beyond conventional readings and to reexamine aspects of the cinematic gaze in relation to queer desire and spectatorship.
The essays examine a wide array of films, including Calamity Jane, Rear Window, The Hunger, Heavenly Creatures, and Bound , and discuss such figures as Doris Day, Elizabeth Taylor, and Alfred Hitchcock. Divided into three sections, the first part reconsiders the construction of masculinity and male homoerotic desire—especially with respect to the role of women—in classic cinema of the 1940s and 1950s. The second section offers a deconstructive consideration of lesbian film spectatorship and lesbian representation. Part three looks at the historical trajectory of independent queer cinema, including works by H.D., Kenneth Anger, and Derek Jarman.
By exploring new approaches to the study of sexuality in film, Out Takes will be useful to scholars in gay and lesbian studies, queer theory, and cinema studies.
The Gay and Lesbian Literary Heritage: A Reader's Companion to the Writers and Their Work, from Antiquity to the Present by Claude J. Summers
Paperback: 786 pages
Publisher: Owl Book; 1st edition (January 1997)
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Providing a global view of gay and lesbian life in literature and criticism, a new literary companion includes contributions from some 150 scholars and consists of nearly four hundred signed articles arranged in an A-Z format for easy use.
Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History: From World War II to the Present Day by Robert Aldrich & Garry Wotherspoon
Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (December 6, 2002)
Amazon: Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History: From World War II to the Present Day
Provides a comprehensive modern biographical survey of homosexuality in the Western world.
More LGBT History at my website: www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Gay Classics
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