I thought that both the arguments made by Dorf and Moore were relatively convincing. I have never read any queer theory before, so I was overall pretty overwhelmed with the terminology. I had a much easier time understanding what Dorf was saying, Moore’s writing style was frustrating to deal with (part of which being his use of unfamiliar vocabulary).
Dorf was arguing that he would be coming from a perspective dealing with a “proto-feminist and lesbian aesthetic” in regard to the Princesse and her salon. I think that Dorf was slightly more convincing. I particularly thought that when he talked about the fact that women were reading Greek to music, he supported his thesis well. Because reading Greek was an activity reserved for intellectual males, the whole activity was a bigger deal than I thought. This was for me, his most clear and successful piece of evidence for the proto-feminist perspective. I also liked that he revealed the obvious importance of the piece being performed by four women, again appealing to the proto-feminist side of his argument. I was not impressed by his claim that the “veiled lesbian eroticism” can be inferred by reading between the lines. He argues that if you pay attention to what is not being said, you find the Princesse expressing her sexuality. I suppose that it could be possible, but I really do not think he can make any sort of solid claim about that idea. His “lesbian aesthetic” perspective was weak. He provided a nice overview of the Princesse’s life and personality, but didn’t convince me of anything evident in the music she commissioned.
Moore was a lot to take in. As far as I could tell, his argument was confirming the importance of Poulenc’s sexual identity to his music. I was most convinced when reading about Poulenc’s experimentation in cross-dressing, and its relation to Les Biches. After watching the ballet, I was able to clearly see the Woman in Blue’s androgyny in costume and choreography. The musical evidence Moore brought forth was a Poulenc quote declaring the perfect music for the Woman in Blue had “unexpected modulations,” alluding to her sexual ambiguity. I would not say that unexpected modulations=sexual ambiguity is a strong piece of evidence, but it was one of the only concepts I was able to follow in this article. That being said, I don’t doubt that Poulenc’s sexuality influenced his music, but I’m still confused as to how Moore was proving that.