Saturday, 3 December 2011

Terence Rattigan: A Drag Of The Typewriter

"There is a reason why Rattigan was so interested in not just the unspoken, but the unspeakable passion. He was himself homosexual, and lived his life in well-understood denial. His nature, which was illegal for most of his life, inflected his work in unpredictable and sometimes heavily revised ways. The crime committed by the major in his play Separate Tables was originally committed against boys rather than girls, as in the performed version. And we have Rattigan's recorded word for it that the illicit passion which drives The Deep Blue Sea, currently regarded as his masterpiece, was based on an unhappy love affair between men...."

Philip Hensher in The Guardian on how gay writers in ye olden days, like Terence Rattigan, would write gay characters but change their sex to female.
He also makes claims for EM Forster, LP Hartley, Francis King, W Somerset Maugham, and Proust.
It's a point that others have argued befoore - it has been said that Tennessee Wiliams was often performing "a drag of the typewriter" - but sometimes a female character is simply a female charcter.

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