Proust on the Charles
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Published in: November-December 2009 issue.


The Journal Of Claude Fredericks: Volume Two Part One : Cambridge ( 1941-1942 )
XLibris.  700 pages, $28.99


The Journal Of Claude Fredericks Volume Two Part Two : Cambridge ( 1942 )
XLibris.  478 pages, $21.24


WHAT HAPPENS when a seventeen-year-old gay boy from Missouri, high on Proust, arrives at Harvard, in 1941, on a quest for love, sex, and greatness? One man’s answer is revealed in rich, exasperating, and touching detail in The Journal of Claude Fredericks.

The journey is not for the faint of heart. Volume II—in two parts—runs just under 1,400 pages. Yet I found it almost compulsively readable; while I was engaged with the book Claude’s life seemed more vivid than my own, and looking up from my reading I found my sensitivity to my own life’s texture enhanced.

Claude’s feelings on his first day at college, gazing out the window of his dorm room at the boys strolling across the campus, are perhaps those of every gay freshman:
I really could go after almost any of them. It amazes me that there should be so many handsome single boys. Well, here if ever I should not be lonely. If here, then always. … Now I feel so exquisitely free. I can stay out all night and have no one to report to, I can go where I damn please and hear no objections. There are museums and concerts and plays and beautiful people (if not too much of any) and I am the most unencumbered thing in the world.

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