Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America
by Christopher Bram
Twelve Books. 367 pages, $27.99
FIRST, A CONFESSION: I didn’t know this when asked to review this book, but two of my own books, Gay Fiction Speaks and Hear Us Out, are prominently mentioned. In his acknowledgments, Bram goes so far as to say they are “full of gold.” Nonetheless, I feel that I’ve been able to evaluate Eminent Outlaws objectively, finding much to praise—and some things to criticize, too.
Eminent Outlaws sets out to document the postwar history of American gay male literature in biographical and therefore also generational terms. Although the claim that Bram is the first to tell this story is exaggerated, it is true that nobody to date has written about gay men’s writing from the U.S. exclusively, the more common path being to encompass other literatures written in English as well.