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‘[God] is a Flaming Hebrew Letter’: Esoteric Camp in Angels in America

Kilner-Johnson, Allan (2019) ‘[God] is a Flaming Hebrew Letter’: Esoteric Camp in Angels in America Literature and Theology.

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This article turns attention to the mystical theology of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America to demonstrate how Kushner aligns the long theological history of spiritual revelation and textual exegesis with the performative associations of camp, the stylised heightening of otherness, citation, and irony central to contemporary gay culture. Kushner’s play underscores the role of the divinely-inspired interloper in the development of both Western religion and the esoteric currents which run beneath, defining mystical experience as a form of camp which has historically ascribed questionable alterity to the receiver. As this article maintains, this suggestive correlation between high camp and esoteric faith works to resist a positivism firmly rooted in the scientific materialism of modernity and which had previously served as the most consistent artistic and academic response to the HIV/AIDS crisis.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Literature and Languages
Authors :
Date : 2019
Copyright Disclaimer : © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press 2019; All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (
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Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 03 May 2019 13:16
Last Modified : 03 May 2019 13:16

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