Encyclopedia of Contemporary LGBTQ Literature of the United States
by Emmanuel S. Nelson, Editor
July 2009, 762pp, 7x10
2 volumes, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-34859-4
$201, £155, 175€, A276
eBook Available: 978-0-313-34860-0
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

During the last two decades there has been a dramatic resurgence in literary and cultural production by Americans who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, or queer (LGBTQ). Like many of those who create it, LGBTQ literature has come out of the closet to become an important facet of mainstream American education.

In this two-volume work, hundreds of alphabetically arranged entries survey contemporary lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer American literature and its social contexts.

Comprehensive in scope and accessible to students and general readers, Encyclopedia of Contemporary LGBTQ Literature of the United States explores contemporary American LGBTQ literature and its social, political, cultural, and historical contexts. Included are several hundred alphabetically arranged entries written by expert contributors. Students of literature and popular culture will appreciate the encyclopedia’s insightful survey and discussion of LGBTQ authors and their works, while students of history and social issues will value the encyclopedia’s use of literature to explore LGBTQ American society.

Each entry is written by an expert contributor and lists additional sources of information. To further enhance study and understanding, the encyclopedia closes with a selected general bibliography of print and electronic resources for student research.


  • Hundreds of alphabetically arranged entries discuss authors, literary works, movements, genres, and social issues
  • An alphabetical list of entries offers a quick survey of the encyclopedia's contents
  • A guide to related topics quickly and conveniently directs readers to entries likely to interest them
  • Bibliographies for specific entries help students find sources of additional information on specialized topics
  • A selected, general bibliography directs students to the most helpful print and electronic resources on contemporary LGBTQ American literature
Emmanuel S. Nelson is professor of English at the State University of New York, Cortland, NY. His published works include the award-winning Greenwood Encyclopedia of Multiethnic American Literature.


Outstanding Academic Title, 2010—Choice, January 1, 2011


"Edited by Nelson (English, SUNY Cortland), this two-volume set presents over 300 signed entries authored by over 125 authors, professors, graduate students, librarians, and professionals from across the United States. The articles cover topics of relevance to the field of lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgendered/queer (LGBTQ) literature such as AIDS, seminal texts like Angels in America, and a large number of articles on mainly contemporary authors. ... Bottom Line: Geared toward high school, college, and scholarly research users, this work is free of bias, focusing on LGBTQ topics as equally as the materials enable. Recommended for all academic and high school libraries."—Library Journal, September 15, 2009

"This outstanding reference work was written with the reader in mind. The clarity of the style and depth of the scholarship of its approximately 120 scholarly contributors make for accessible reading by academicians and high school students alike. That accessibility is enhanced by two excellent tables of contents. . . Accessibility is further promoted within each clearly formatted entry by distinct bolding for cross-referenced topics and by a thorough index at the end of volume 2. There is a tremendous amount of valuable information to be accessed in the two volumes of the Encyclopedia of Contemporary LGBTQ Literature of the United States. . . . As a whole, this work explores contemporary U.S. LGBTQ literature in its social, political, cultural, and historical contexts. A fine introduction by Marylynne Diggs lays the groundwork for this comprehensive approach, and bibliographies of important secondary sources (at the end of each entry and toward the end of volume two) reinforce it. The Encyclopedia of Contemporary LGBTQ Literature of the United States is indispensible for any excellent reference collection."—ARBAonline, September 1, 2009

"While it will be extremely useful for students of literature, history, and social issues, the book also will interest general readers who want to learn more about LGBTQ society." —Reference & Research Book News, November 1, 2009

"The more than 300 signed essays in this encyclopedia cover a broad spectrum of multicultural lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer contemporary literature, from memoir to poetry to drama. Arranged alphabetically, the set is weighted heavily in biographical entries, but also included are seminal works and topical entries such as “Novel, Lesbian” and “Gay Rights Movement” that range in length from approximately 500 to 4000 words..."—School Library Journal, December 1, 2009

"The editor and contributors must be commended for the readability of the entries, which are uniformly interesting and approachable while scholarly enough to pass university muster. . . . An excellent work for college and university libraries, as well as larger public libraries, this offering treats a broader range of writers than such standard works as Greenwood Press’ Contemporary Lesbian Writers of the United States (1993) and Gay American Poets and Playwrights (2003). Also available as an e-book." —Booklist, December 15, 2009

"This two-volume set will have an immediate positive impact on literary criticism in the new millennium. LGBTQ Literature is an authoritative scholarly reference for literature from 1980 to the present. . . . This set provides rich access to film and theater, especially Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway productions. LGBTQ Literature makes a significant contribution to the ongoing project of increasing the availability of scholarly resources on this topic. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers."—Choice, January 1, 2010

"The Encyclopedia of Contemporary LGBTQ Literature of the United States is not only an essential purchase for all academic libraries and major public libraries, but also enjoyable book. . . . The new Encyclopedia is reader-friendly with a more accessible style, as well as larger type and larger margin. . . . With its broad scope and high level of readability, the Encyclopedia is an excellent choice for bibliographers and book buyers. LGBTQ readers should request the purchase of this book at their libraries."—GLBTRT Newsletter, July 1, 2010

"...meets its goal of being a significant contribution to the field of LGBTQ studies. Overall, I recommend this set for institutions with history, English, or gender studies programs in need of a wide-ranging reference in this growing area of literary study."—Feminist Collections, July 1, 2010
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
Accept All Cookies | Decline.