Course overview

This 8 week course will discuss LGBT+ literature in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Our principal texts will be: • Orlando - Virginia Woolf. • The Twyborn Affair - Patrick White. • The End of Eddy - Edouard Louis. • The poetry of WH Auden & Thom Gunn. The course will focus on how LGBTQ+ literature has sought to define its subject matter in the face of prejudice in the last hundred years, and how it has sought to be recognised as literature per se. The course will concentrate on issues of identity, sexuality and gender and the search for equality and enfranchisement.

Course description

These texts are concerned with literature’s role in breaking taboos, and bringing into the mainstream issues that were formerly and still are in some sections of society regarded as transgressive. Though this is an important component of the course, and is still a live issue, given changing political circumstances in Europe, the U.S. and Africa, this course is not designed to argue a specific perspective, but instead to evaluate the contribution made to literature by these authors, each of whom was or is a member of the LGBT+ community.

We will range from Woolf’s love-letter, Orlando, written to Vita-Sackville West, through Australia, Europe and wartime London with Patrick White, both novels which touch on the issue of being transgender; examine the love poetry of Auden and Gunn, particularly his remarkable work, The Man With Night-Sweats, ending with Edouard Louis’ semi-autobiographical novel, The End of Eddy, describing poverty and prejudice in Northern France.

You will discover that this literature is of the first order, and will be minded to explore further the voices of those who for much of the history of Western literature were constrained to self-censor their subject matter.

What financial support is available?

We don't want anything to stand in your way when it comes to bringing Adult learning within reach so if you need anything to support you to achieve your goals then speak to one of our education experts during your enrolment journey. Most of our courses are government funded but if you don't qualify or need alternative financial help to access them then let us know.

What other support is available?

All of our digital content, teaching and learning activities and assessments are designed to be accessible so if you need any additional support you can discuss this with the education experts during your enrolment journey and we will do all we can to make sure you have optimal access.

Share this page:

Lady giving a thumbs up to her tablet as she watches a WEA member lecture
Image overlay triangle

Become a WEA member today

For just £15 per year, you can access many great benefits, including our award-winning weekly member lectures.

Need more information?

Need help? Complete our form and our friendly Support Services team will be back in touch.

Course contact

How do we use the information we gather from you?
Please see our privacy policy.