'To my brother': gay love and sex in Thea Astley's novels and stories

Taylor, Cheryl (2019) 'To my brother': gay love and sex in Thea Astley's novels and stories. Queensland Review, 26 (2). pp. 269-284.

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Abstract

Beginning as early as A Descant for Gossips (1960), gay men and gay love come and go in Thea Astley's prose oeuvre. The responses that these characters and this topic invite shift with point of view and under the impact of varied themes. Astley's treatment refuses to be contained, either by traditional Catholic doctrines about sex or by Australia's delay in decriminalising homosexual acts. Driven by love for her gay older brother Philip, whose death from cancer corresponded with her final allusions to gay love in The Multiple Effects of Rainshadow (1996), Astley's only constant message on this, as on other topics, is humans' responsibility to treat each other with kindness. This essay draws on Karen Lamb's biography and on writings and reminiscences by Philip Astley's family and fellow Jesuits to reveal his significance as his sister sought to resolve through her fiction the conflict between an inculcated Catholic idolisation of purity and her own hard-won understanding and acceptance of gay men.

Item ID: 61279
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2049-7792
Keywords: Thea Astley, relationships, sex, gay men, homosexual
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2019.
Date Deposited: 25 Dec 2019 07:30
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2005 Literary Studies > 200502 Australian Literature (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Literature) @ 100%
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