Browsing: Harbingers

July – August, 2004

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The following is excerpted from the introduction to Queer Beats: How the Beats Turned America on to Sex, which will be published by Cleis Press this July.

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GREG BEHRMAN’S new book offers a compelling look into the United States’ failure to respond to the global AIDS pandemic starting in the 1980’s. …

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… How dangerous is it to write fiction as if it is a mirror of one’s own life, a reflection of a whole era? White has said that what matters to a writer is truth-and truth, he knows, can sometimes be achieved by mischievous means. Even for a writer who draws his material from a well of his own experiences, art is never autobiographical in a simple, photographic way.

At 63, White has left a trail of books in a range of genres: …

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Graham Robb’s Strangers: Homosexual Love in the 19th Century stands out among recent books for its appreciation of an explicitly gay liberationist scholarly approach to our forgotten but precious past. …

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… Clifford Wright was such a retiring person, and living on such a remote island as he did, that writing letters was his chief means of connecting with people, especially his gay friends. And since he had known everyone in the arts, his correspondence in the Danish Archives of Arts and Letters Modern Collection is staggering-12,500 items. In my archive at the University of Delaware, too, are a treasure trove of 85 fat letters from Clifford, a testament to his indomitable gay spirit. …

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Backward Glances is not a memoir but a scholar’s exploration of something gay men often do without a second thought. Cruising is an age-old activity, not necessarily the exclusive domain of gay men, but one that gay men have undoubtedly developed and refined in unique ways. …

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C. A. TRIPP was born in Denton, Texas, a small town not far north of Dallas, on October 4, 1919. His father was an amiable cabinet-making teacher and hardware store proprietor. His mother, the descendant of early settlers, came from a family that owned much of Denton’s real estate and lived in its grandest residence. More temperamental than her husband, a fierce champion of conservative Christian values, she was quick to condemn what she viewed as immorality. In short, Tripp’s mother was a classic Southern-belle enforcer of “good behavior.”

Perhaps, then, it is something of a wonder that her son went on to write a book that turned traditional notions of sexual behavior upside down. …

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One thing that comes through clearly in this new biography by Jeffrey Meyers is that W. Somerset Maugham was not an easy man to know. …

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TO “LOOK BACK on the history of homosexuality in the West,” writes Louis Crompton in Homosexuality and Civilization, is to view a kaleidoscope of horrors: …

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THE ASSERTION that Hitler may have been homosexual was made by German historian Lothar Machtan in his 2001 book, The Hidden Hitler [reviewed and debated in the Jan.-Feb. and May-June 2002 issues]. Although dismissed by most experts as poor history based on hearsay and speculation, this book was used as the basis for a new HBO documentary, The Hidden Fuehrer. …

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