This course will trace the rise of the modern queer canon from 1840 through the late 20th century. In studying selected literary works of Walt Whitman, Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin, Tennessee Williams, Rita Mae Brown, Jeanette Winterson, and others, we will focus on the way these authors develop an intertextual dialogue. Participants will also explore the construction of gender roles, how conceptions of sex and gender have changed over time. How do gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender authors express themselves amid a potentially hostile, “heteronormative” society? This and other, related questions will preoccupy us in discussion and in our writing this term. This course will include film, music, and selected sociological/historical reading to contextualize and enrich our study.