Browsing: March-April 2017

March-April 2017

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DAVID LEDDICK may be known best for his homoerotic art books, though it could be for his many novels and memoirs—but then again, it could be for his musicals or film appearances. And yet he started his career as a dancer with the Metropolitan Opera and spent years in the advertising biz, in Paris, as creative director for Revlon and L’Oréal. You get the idea.

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Sins of the Cities presents the first history of a male prostitute as told from his own viewpoint—and without apology. Its main character is Jack Saul, whose life is written up from “his rough notes” commissioned by a certain “Mr Cambon.” The two men first meet in November 1880, when Cambon cruises Saul in Leicester Square, being attracted by the “extraordinary” size of the “lump in his trousers.” He is equally struck by Saul’s expertise at oral sex and asks for an account of how he arrived at such proficiency. Saul agrees to provide a narration of his life, with the understanding that he will be paid for his efforts. Saul is thus frequently cited as the “author” of the resulting book. If so, he must share the title with Cambon. The latter’s introduction takes up seven-and-a-half pages in the Valancourt edition. His voice returns for eight pages at the end of the book in three essays apparently designed as filler to reach the requisite length.

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Black Wave by Michelle Tea The Feminist Press at CUNY 320 pages, $18.95 MICHELLE TEA’S new novel—for lack of a more precise label—is a work of meta-fiction, a…More

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DENTON WELCH (1915–1948) was a writer’s writer and, in particular, a gay writer’s writer. He isn’t as well known as other queer authors of the early 20th century, but the list of writers who have admired and championed his work includes Edith Sitwell, Vita Sackville-West, E. M. Forster, W. H. Auden, John Updike, William Burroughs, John Waters, and Edmund White.

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Enigma Variations is a novel about a man who remains unknowable. Paul is an outsider in many ways. He’s an Italian living in America; he forms emotional attachments to women yet lusts after men; he longs for understanding but keeps people at a distance.

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Dominic Janes beautifully demonstrates, long before the Wilde brouhaha, homoerotic expression in the form of dandyism and æstheticism—“camping,” we might call it today—was conspicuous, and often accurately understood, in British society.

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In Women Lovers, Barney writes explicitly and unflinchingly about sex (really hot sex) and gender role-play between women, which was extremely courageous for the period. As her biographer Suzanne Rodriguez observes, this kind of unabashed honesty about lesbian sexuality was shocking back then. When writing of her own vulnerability in love, however, Barney exposes an utterly different side of her character: a woman who is wanting, woeful, and wounded—far from the mythical Amazon persona.

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The Troubleseeker combines history and mythology from several cultures to tell the story of Antinio, a gay Cuban man, as he searches for freedom and love in the face of oppression and disease. It is narrated by Hadrian, the brilliant emperor of ancient Roman whose male lover Antinous died by drowning at age nineteen, whereupon Hadrian made him a god and had statues of Antinous erected all over the Empire. Hadrian, now a disembodied demi-god with limited supernatural powers, takes an interest in Antinio, actively saving his life on several occasions.

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The Disappearing L: Erasure of Lesbian Spaces and Culture by Bonnie J. Morris SUNY. 256 pages, $22.95 IN THE DISAPPEARING L, Bonnie J. Morris writes about a current…More