IJCH 2017 Vol.3(2): 108-115 ISSN: 2382-6177
doi: 10.18178/ijch.2017.3.2.086

Transgression: Human Desire and the Revelation of Homosexuality in Tom Stoppard’s The Invention of Love

Wen-Hsiang Su
Abstract—Abstract—Staying in or coming out of the closet have been two oppositional dissidences sanctioned by each of their supporters to stigmatize the legitimacy of the opposing stance. With these two discourses confronting each other, the public awareness of acknowledging the existence of homosexuality leads to the exposure of sexual repression. Thus, homosexuality not only overthrows the univocal disposition of heterosexuality, but also invokes a rising voice to challenge the doctrine in a conservative society. A.E. Housman, Tom Stoppard’s protagonist in The Invention of Love, constrained by social convention, experiences a concupiscent desire for his classmate, Moses Jackson. Triggered by his indulgence in Greek poetry, from youth to death, Housman goes on the path in search of his real self. In this regard, this paper will focus on three stages, awareness, denial and acceptance, which influence Housman’s whole life and delineate his inner struggle as he faces condemnation from society. With Stoppard’s delicate arrangement of having the dead Housman meet the young Housman, homosexuality is turned into a polemical topic that deserves complete scrutiny.

Index Terms—Index Terms—Homosexuality, sexual repression, heterosexuality, Tom Stoppard, taboo.

Wen-Hsiang Su is with the Department of Applied English, Shih Chien University Kaohsiung Campus, Taiwan (e-mail: whsu@ g2.usc.edu.tw).


Cite: Wen-Hsiang Su, "Transgression: Human Desire and the Revelation of Homosexuality in Tom Stoppard’s The Invention of Love," International Journal of Culture and History vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 108-115, 2017.

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