Keep the Queer Hush Hush – The Dial

We had Christina’s presentation on “Queer Making in the Dial” today.

What I found the most interesting from today’s discussion was the hidden queer community within the production of this little magazine. The editors were queer, and the artwork and literary content often had queer undertones. However, this was not an evident theme. Rather, it was hidden within subtexts and visual details. For example, the fairytale “Ella and the She Bear,” intensely described the yearning for attractive men, yet the writer was a male, making us question his sexual orientation. In consequence, this homoerotic undertone provided a queer community or outlet for those who were truly looking for it. In this way, it was almost like a secret call to invite like-minded individuals into this magazine.

Moreover, the magazine itself already had a predisposed reputation of being high-culture. It was rather expensive, making it inaccessible to the lower class. In addition to the price, the content surrounded the concept of art for arts sake. It is a celebration of artistic mediums. As Christina so articulately explained, the front cover of volume 2 is an amalgamation of artistic expression through representations of painting, writing, music, and architecture. The decadent theme of artistic expression contributes to the elitist identity of this magazine.

Perhaps the elitist identity is what helped keep the queer undertones within the magazine hidden. It is not a celebration of life and sex, such as the Savoy was. But rather, a celebration of art forms that were beyond the reach of common middle-class people. In consequence, the Dial was kept out of the hands of the common class, therefore allowing this secret queer community to flourish undetected within the high-class, as a hidden homage to those who simply cared to look closely.

This idea of a queer community kept hush hush, is of course, estimation and speculation. However, I feel like it is worth while to explore further.

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