"Every-bit-as-good-as-gay": Restyling heterosexuality in 1940s New York

Desley Deacon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The relationship of novelist Mary McCarthy and her third husband, Bowden Broadwater, is an example of the rise and fall of a particular kind of heterosexuality in 1940s and 1950s urban America: the ‘nongay, every-bit-as-good-as-gay’ male partner. This article describes the course of this marriage and links its unusual aspects to a resistant culture that developed at Harvard during the 1940s, inspired by the life and work of the British novelist Ronald Firbank. It traces the marriage’s failure to the developing hostility, during the 1950s, to the experimental new relationships that were part of that culture.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)77-98
    JournalHistory Australia
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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