Projecting deviance/seeing queerly: Homosexual representation and queer spectatorship in 1950s West Germany

Projecting deviance/seeing queerly: Homosexual representation and queer spectatorship in 1950s West Germany

Alison Guenther-Pal

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 2:00181347

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


"Projecting Deviance/Seeing Queerly" is an investigation of the representation of homosexuality in cinematic, scientific, lay, and literary texts during West Germany's Adenauer Era (1949--1963). It examines postwar attempts to produce a stable system of sexuality and gender constructions purportedly destabilized by the interwar years of the Weimar Republic followed by National Socialism, the Holocaust and World War II. This study focuses specifically on the representation of homosexuality by examining at once socio-cultural efforts to reestablish sexual "normalcy" while at the same time offering queer interventions into such efforts. My attention in the first half of this dissertation rests on an analysis of the dominant and largely homophobic discourses surrounding male homosexuality culled from a variety of contemporary sources, including Willhart Schlegel's biological theories of homosexuality and constitution, empirical sociologist Helmut Schelsky's emphasis on cultural influences, Veit Harlan's social problem film Anders als du und ich (§175) , and Heinrich Böll's Der Zug war pünktlich . Drawing from feminist and queer interventions in film spectatorship in addition to feminist literary theories of reading, the second portion of my dissertation foregrounds the processes of assigning meaning to cultural artifacts and explores the contours of these processes in order to reveal the ways in which the 1950s might be "queered." After proposing a theory of film spectatorship, I examine the public image of Liselotte Pulver, the star of three cross-dressing or Hosenrolle films, and suggest a queer reading of two of these, Fritz und Friederike and Gustav Adolfs Page . This project is organized around a fundamental tension between the ideological functions of representation and the agency of individual subjects.

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anschließen wollen, dann müssen wir schließlich das ganze demokratische System in Frage stellen. Dann kämen wir allerdings gefährlich in die Nähe des Marxismus-Leninismus, wonach linientreue Erkenntnis der Minorität ausschlaggebend für die Auslegung aller Strafgesetze sein kann. (Bundeskriminalamt 71-2) At the very least, the participants agreed that establishing and policing the boundaries of sexual “normalcy” was thought to be in the interest of society. District court judge Keutgen argued that

homosexuality was viewed as a blatant repudiation of one’s familial and political responsibility as a citizen of West Germany. In the same way that homosexuals were considered the enemy of the state under National Socialism, homosexual men could be accused of renouncing democracy or perhaps more incriminatingly, supporting communism by relinquishing their obligation to reinstate the patriarchal family as the cornerstone of society (Moeller, "Homosexual" 279-80). Klaus’s conversion to

Yet in spite of the fact that he appropriates the language of bureacracy in order to turn it against the agents of this same bureacracy, the blond has somehow lost part of himself, has forfeited his identity to the fascist system. His absorption by an ostensibly ordered system is further revealed in the way he eats. [...] Gradually it becomes clear, however, that the outward behavior of the blond is simply the shell of an identity produced by the bureaucratic Nazi war machinery. Behind these

not those of the erotic object of the gaze, but those of the more perfect, more complete, more powerful ideal ego conceived in the original moment of recognition in front of the mirror. ("Visual Pleasure" 34) Narcissistic identification operates on the level of narrative alone and shores up the spectator’s masculinity by showing the active male protagonist objectifying the main female character(s) as well as controlling of the development and resolution of the story. It follows from Mulvey’s

three Paul Czinner features, Der Geiger von Florenz (1926), Doña Juana (1928), and the British film version of As You Like It (1936). Dolly Haas starred in Liebeskommando (Géza von Bolváry, 1931), Der Page vom Dalmasse-Hotel (Victor Jansen, 1933), and Girls will be Boys (Marcel Varnel, 1934); Marianne Hoppe played the eponymous lead in the adaptation of Georg von der Vring’s novel Schwarzer Jäger Johanna (Johannes Meyer, 1935). Renate Müller most famously starred in the role of a Guenther-Pal,

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