Browsing: Another Country

July – August, 2010

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WHAT’S WITH THE “GOOD” in the subtitle of your book? people ask me. Couldn’t you get the “best” writing? or (tongue in cheek) is it writing by “good lesbians”? The subtitle of Something to Declare echoes that of an earlier anthology, Wonderlands: Good Gay Travel Writing.

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“PARIS IS WHERE the 20th century was,” declared that eccentric raconteur and occasional aphorist, Gertrude Stein. Writers like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Stein herself, artists like Picasso, Dalí, and…More

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BETWEEN THE SUMMERS of 2007 and 2009, I traveled the country interviewing a diverse group of prominent, interesting, and accomplished gay Americans. Out of those interviews—102 in all—came a book, Travels in a Gay Nation: Portraits of LGBTQ Americans, which was published this spring by the University of Wisconsin Press. Throughout the project, diversity was my guiding principle.

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Materializing Queer Desire: Oscar Wilde to Andy Warhol by Elisa Glick
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AT THE END of this tantalizing, informative, erudite and resourceful book, English and Women & Gender Studies academic Elisa Glick quotes one of her illustrious predecessors, Rhonda Garelick, on the figure of the dandy: “Critics writing about dandies or their texts fall easily into dandyist style, and succumb to its charms.”

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IN JUNE 2010, the GLBT community is observing its 40th year of Pride. The first annual celebration of Gay Pride took place in New York a year after the Stonewall Riots of June 1969. Movement pioneer Craig Rodwell, who founded the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop, took the lead in organizing the Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee (csldc) to commemorate the first anniversary of Stonewall. The celebration centered on the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade, held in New York on June 28, 1970. Although they could not have known it at the time, the 1970 march would give rise to “GLBT Pride” worldwide, which millions celebrate each year.

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I’M ON A SHIP, a small one built for the rigors of icy seas, not for transporting people comfortably, and so as it rocks and rolls, dips and surges, so does my stomach. We’re riding 25-foot waves, and explosions of salt water are smashing against the small porthole of my cabin. Eventually we get to our destination, where I’m unloaded with the rest of the cargo and a few other people. Here I am, at a station in Antarctica where I’ll be living for a couple of months with a group of scientists and their support staffs.

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Is the Rectum a Grave?: and Other Essays by Leo Bersani
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LEO BERSANI begins this collection of essays with a concise list of his three major interests: sexuality, psychoanalysis, and æsthetics. To readers not familiar with Bersani’s work, this list suggests that the book will be more traditionally academic—and dull—than it turns out to be. A better sense of what Bersani is about is found in the second of two interviews that conclude the collection.

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IN HER RADIO SHOW, Dr. Laura Schlessinger said that homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstances. The following open letter to Dr. Laura was posted anonymously on the Internet.

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AN OLD JOURNALISM PROFESSOR of mine who may have read too many Hemingway impersonators once solemnly informed me that short travel pieces—very short ones—were the truest test of fine writing. Real writers, he suggested, were the ones who could squeeze the essence of a place down into a tight little nub of a paragraph, a sentence, maybe only a clause. A word or two. This advice sounded at the time like the kind of considered wisdom that makes sense; but later of course I realized that it didn’t. Later I realized it was just wrong.

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The Golden Age of Gay Fiction Edited by Drewey Wayne Gunn
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ASSUMPTIONS about what gay life and culture were like before Stonewall—that it was an era of all-consuming repression, secrecy, and shame—might lead one to conclude that depictions of gay people in film and literature were non-existent or, if they did surface, heavily coded. Many film historians have examined the movies of this period, but the history of gay literature, which arguably provides perhaps an even richer history, has not been explored as thoroughly. Of course, one must be willing to allow for a more expansive and inclusive definition of what constitutes “literature.”

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