Visions of Queer Martyrdom from
John Henry Newman to Derek Jarman
by Dominic Janes
of Chicago Press. 257 pages, $50.
DOMINIC JANES’ book about Victorian Englishmen attracted to their own sex—“sodomites” was the term at the time—in the Anglo-Catholic branch of the Anglican Church is not about the usual suspects. We do have Oscar Wilde and Cardinal Newman (founder of the Oxford Movement that began it all), but there are also chapters on people you may have never heard of: William Bennett, a provincial priest who had a Stations of the Cross built outside his church in Somerset; Father Ignatius, who founded monasteries based on the Benedictines; Frederick Rolfe (aka Baron Corvo), the author of Hadrian the Seventh (1904), the famous novel about an alternative pope. There are also the authors of children’s books based on the story of David and Jonathan; and, finally, the gay film maker Derek Jarman, who made a movie about Saint Sebastian and was himself canonized by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence on a beach in Dungeness not long before he died of AIDS.
This review was wonderfully insightful. I especially appreciate it because I interviewed the author about the book and tried to summarize its contents. Andrew Holleran did a great job of writing about the book. I’m particularly grateful to him for pointing out the connections to Gerard Manley Hopkins.
Here’s a link to my piece: