Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) was a French composer of instrumental and vocal works. Some of his most popular works include Dialogues des Carmelites, the famous Symphony No. 3 (Organ Symphony), and numerous chamber pieces. Poulenc had a close association with Jean Cocteau and was a member of the famed "Les Six," an enclave of composers challenging status quo in Paris during the early part of the 20th century.
My research in to Poulenc and his music concerns Poulenc's sexual identity and expression. In the later part of his life, Poulenc was ascribed by Claude Rostand the dichotomy of moine et voyou, the monk and the bad boy. Obviously a tie to his Catholic faith, this distinction is challenged by my research in that Poulenc was not much of either. Poulenc's sexuality has, in much of the earlier biographic scholarship, been erased and cast aside as an act of rebellion. Poulenc, however, was not rebellious. Instead, he was quite campy and subversive. With a cunning sense of humor and connections in the music and art world in Paris, Poulenc set out on his own path while simultaneously existing in a heteronormative sect of Parisian society.
You can download my DMA document, How Queer!: Camp Aesthetics and Poulenc's Trio for Oboe, Bassoon, and Piano, here.