Browsing: In Search of Lost Time

January – February, 2010

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WITH HIS ANTI-WAR NOVEL ALF, from the year 1929, the Leipzig writer

Bruno Vogel (1898-1987) acquired a prominent place in gay literary

history. The novel, which Vogel himself subtitled “A sketch,” describes

the love between two high school students, which ends in tragedy. It is

the time of the First World War.

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THE HOUR BETWEEN turned into several hours of guilty pleasure. Sebastian Stuart’s coming-of-age story, set in a private, residential high school, brings together Arthur and Katrina, the Will and Grace of secondary education. (He’s gay and she’s flighty.) Their maturing process is set against the battle of administrators at the school.

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In the introduction to her fascinating study, James Baldwin’s Turkish Decade, Magdalena Zaborowska opens with a striking quote from the writer: “Perhaps only someone who is outside of the States realizes that it’s impossible to get out.”

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On balance, the biggest difference between the two books is their readability. Hart’s memoir is lighter and easier going, a book that you want to read to the end. Agabian’s book, while well-written and insightful, could have ended forty pages before it did. Both are worthwhile contributions to the growing body of personal memoirs from everyday people with an exceptional past.

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News of the queer and quirky

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AS IF peering through a kaleidoscope of twisted history and distorted time, I could not help but become drawn in by the characters and images that J. J. Sagmiller has created in this delightful romp through the raucous world of early 18th-century London theatre.

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THIRTY-SOMETHING S. Bear Bergman has already lived several lives and is leaving a trail of documents for us fortunate readers to decipher. A performance artist, memoirist, educator, and more, Bergman’s elegantly written collection of essays chronicles life as a gender non-conformist-on the “transmasculine spectrum”-with a laugh-out-loud sense of humor.

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[L]et us try to summon up inspiration from our illustrious ancestors, those forefathers who had they opened their mouths, would have made our cause great a few years earlier, had they had the guts to cry out “here I come, ready or not” to all and sundry, the world at large and stood there long enough to have their toesies counted, would not have placed us in the mess we’re in today. I am of course talking about Leonardo and Michelangelo and Napoleon (who had a small one) and Socrates and Aristotle…

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