Some of the greatest works in the world of literature has come from queer authors. Most of the historical figures in queer literature didn’t speak openly about their sexual orientation. This was because of the fear of a homophobic society of those times. However, almost all of them were brave enough to tackle such issues in their literary works.
We just can’t ignore the valuable contributions of the LGBTQ writers to the literary world. The works of several queer authors in history are studied in schools even today. Now let’s take a look at some of the best queer authors in history:
1. Emily Dickinson
Dickinson was an American poet, born into a prominent family in Amherst, Massachusetts. She spent much of her days away from social life and was seen as an eccentric by many. She didn’t even leave her bedroom later in life. Most of the friendships that she developed during her lifetime were maintained through correspondence. She was reluctant to greet her guests and had a liking for white clothing.
Despite all such eccentricities, she wrote nearly 1,800 poems. Only a few of them were published during her lifetime. They had to go through some significant edits to fit the conventional rules of poetry in those times. Some of these poems were dedicated to Susan Huntington Gilbert Dickinson, her sister-in-law.
2. Oscar Wilde
This Irish poet and playwright was one of the most popular playwrights of London in the late 19th century. He is mostly popular for his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray and many plays and epigrams. He also had to face criminal conviction and imprisonment for charges of gross indecency.
Wilde was famous for his wit, flamboyant dressing, and some fabulous conversational skills. Through a series of essays and dialogues, he communicated his views on the supremacy of art. The Ballad of Reading Gaol was Oscar Wilde’s last work. It was a long poem that talked about the difficult days that he spent in prison.
3. Virginia Woolf
She was among the prominent modernist authors of the 20th century. Woolf was born in South Kensington, London, into an affluent family. She, along with her sisters, received home-schooling in Victorian literature and English classics. Woolf had to deal with mental breakdowns during her childhood. They were the result of the death of her mother and her stepsister.
Later, she came into contact with the early reformers of higher education for women during her days in college. She began her professional writing career at the beginning of the 20th century. Woolf committed suicide in 1941 at the age of 59. Her famous literary works include the novels To the Lighthouse, Mrs Dalloway, and Orlando.
4. Tennessee Williams
Born Thomas Lanier Williams III on the 26th of March 1911, he became famous as Tennessee Williams. He used this pen name for his works in literature. He lived in obscurity until the age of 33. The success of his play, The Glass Menagerie, made him famous all of a sudden.
He also attempted a new literary style with his later work, but the audiences didn’t like it. During his lifetime, he also wrote several poems, essays, short stories, and memoirs. His induction into the American Theater Hall of Fame came four years prior to his death.