Browsing: Eros and God

November – December, 2007

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IN MAY OF 1928, Christopher Isherwood made his first trip to Germany. He went as a tourist on a brief visit to the port city of Bremen. Though unremarkable in many respects, this trip would prove to be amazingly generative. For the reading public, the visit was a catalyst that would eventually result in some of the most entertaining writing to come out of the 1930’s.

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CHINA’S VERTIGINOUS RISE as a global economic player is being watched with fascination by those who once dismissed China as a moribund Communist state. This change in perception has triggered an urgent need in the West for the production of knowledge about the country. Over fifty scholarly books have been published since 1990, and several more are forthcoming. Lisa Rofel’s collection of essays entitled Desiring China is the latest offering to a world eager to make sense of this “inscrutable” nation.

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Despite how trapped I was by the various ideologies of the academy, I was also claiming my gay identity for the first time, and I began to see that I could think for myself, if only a little. I started to feel that Mary Shelley’s epic possessed a better-and by far a gayer-grasp on the supernatural than that of her “superiors.”

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IN 1976, Jonathan Katz published one of the first comprehensive histories of same-sex sexuality in the United States. His Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A. is credited with legitimating gay history as a viable subject for academic inquiry and providing a necessary starting point for this emerging field of study. Long Before Stonewall: Histories of Same-Sex Sexuality in Early America, contributes to and complicates this field considerably.

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WHEN BARRIE AND ROCKLIFF published Gerald Glaskin’s No End To The Way in 1965, it must have raised many eyebrows, not least in the British Home Office. This frank portrayal of a gay relationship between an Australian advertising executive (Ray) and a Dutch barman (Cor) was noteworthy for its absence of the “obligatory” tragic ending by death of the protagonist.

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… The equestrian life brought Belle to Europe, where she socialized with aristocrats and the wealthy. The long trips abroad gave her the opportunity to respond to sexual awakenings that began with her love for her friend Evangeline Brewster Johnson. …

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… At a very early age I became aware of what I then considered my “deviant” sexuality. In my mind, it made sense that since people of such conflicting and deep ideological difference could seamlessly consider one another as kin, then wider acculturation of difference in sexuality should certainly follow. …

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Short reviews of A Queer History of the Ballet, Valentino: A Dream of Desire, Dog Years, Come Out and Win, and Out Law: What LGBT Youth Should Know about Their Legal Rights.

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“Among other common lies, we have the silent lie-the deception which one conveys by simply keeping still and concealing the truth. Many obstinate truth mongers indulge in this dissipation, imagining that if they speak no lie, they lie not at all … There is no art to a silent lie. It is timid and shabby.” Mark Twain (1882)

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