Vulgar Genres: Gay Pornographic Writing and Contemporary Fiction (Paperback)

Vulgar Genres: Gay Pornographic Writing and Contemporary Fiction By Steven Ruszczycky Cover Image

Vulgar Genres: Gay Pornographic Writing and Contemporary Fiction (Paperback)


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Vulgar Genres examines gay pornographic writing, showing how literary fiction was both informed by pornography and amounts to a commentary on the genre’s relation to queer male erotic life.

Long fixated on visual forms, the field of porn studies is overdue for a book-length study of gay pornographic writing. Steven Ruszczycky delivers with an impressively researched work on the ways gay pornographic writing emerged as a distinct genre in the 1960s and went on to shape queer male subjectivity well into the new millennium.

​Ranging over four decades, Ruszczycky draws on a large archive of pulp novels and short fiction, lifestyle magazines and journals, reviews, editorial statements, and correspondence. He puts these materials in conversation with works by a number of contemporary writers, including William Carney, Dennis Cooper, Samuel Delany, John Rechy, and Matthew Stadler. While focused on the years 1966 to 2005, Vulgar Genres reveals that the history of gay pornographic writing during this period informs much of what has happened online over the past twenty years, from cruising to the production of digital pornographic texts. The result is a milestone in porn studies and an important contribution to the history of gay life.
Steven Ruszczycky is assistant professor of English and teaches in Women’s, Gender, and Queer Studies at California Polytechnic State University. He is coeditor, with T. Dean and D. Squires, of Porn Archives.
Product Details ISBN: 9780226788753
ISBN-10: 022678875X
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: January 11th, 2022
Pages: 224
“Ruszczycky analyzes gay pornography’s penetration of popular culture and high culture since the 1960s, and its enduring impact on gay sexual fantasies and practices. Comprehensively unfolding—and bravely affirming—that impact’s most unredeemable ‘vulgar’ expressions, Ruszczycky thoughtfully details sensational gay visions of leathermen, hot cops, AIDS-era ‘sleazehounds,’ intergenerational sex, and ‘boys’ who become ‘pigs.’ Vulgar Genres is a major contribution to gay literary and social history, and to cultural studies in general.”
— Robert L. Caserio, Pennsylvania State University

“Vulgar only in the best possible sense, and by no means generic in its analytic sharpness, Ruszczycky’s Vulgar Genres gives us a vitally important account of how gay pornographic writing—though largely ignored in the scholarship of queer literary history and of porn studies— facilitated, enriched, and helped make possible both contemporary gay literary fiction and lively gay counterpublics in the late twentieth century.”
— Darieck Scott, University of California, Berkeley