AbstractPaul Middleton deals with the contested homosexual martyr Matthew Shepard. Matthew Shepard, a gay twenty-one year old political science student at the University of Wyoming, was robbed and brutally beaten by two other men on the night of Tuesday, 6 October 1998. The men tied him to a fence after the attack, while he was bleeding profusely in freezing temperatures. He died a few days later, on 12 October 1998, and was called a martyr in Time Magazine, just a week after his death. Middleton examines the popular martyr-making process in respect of Matthew Shepard, arguing that both the making of the martyr and the reaction it provoked reflect American ‘culture wars’, because martyrology is conflict literature, foremost about the conflict between the story-tellers and their opponents. Ironically, both LGBT activists and right-wing religious groups have in some ways sought to undermine Shepard’s martyr status by focusing on his life rather than his death. Such efforts, as Middleton argues, had a limited effect because in martyrologies any interest in the lives of their heroes is incidental, merely setting up the scene for a significant death.
PublisherAmsterdam University Press
DescriptionFrom Crossref book chapters via Jisc Publications Router
History: ppub 2020-01-31, issued 2020-01-31