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From the Closet To the Grave: Architecture, Sexuality and the Mount Royal Cemetery

Author: Evan Pavka

  • From the Closet To the Grave: Architecture, Sexuality and the Mount Royal Cemetery

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    From the Closet To the Grave: Architecture, Sexuality and the Mount Royal Cemetery

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Abstract

This paper argues that the burials of individuals who engaged, or were speculated to have engaged, in same-sex relations in the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were in constant relation to the material and metaphoric closet. Due to limited archival material concerning cases of same-sex activity in Montreal, Canada, I look out toward international grave sites to construct a framework for analysis. Using case studies from French and American cemeteries alongside those in Mount Royal Cemetery in Montreal, I argue that, for those whose memory is directed by the living, the grave functions much like the closet—closing or disclosing what institutions and society deemed “abominable.” However, more powerful individuals were able to subvert the authority of the cemetery by immortalizing their “romantic friendships” in the grave. By navigating the binaries of the closet—closure/disclosure, hetero/homosexual and repression/pride— the grave has the potential to function as an important archive of identity, sexuality and memory.

How to Cite:

Pavka, E., (2017) “From the Closet To the Grave: Architecture, Sexuality and the Mount Royal Cemetery”, field 7(1), 175–190. doi: https://doi.org/10.62471/field.83

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Published on
01 Nov 2017
Peer Reviewed