Browsing: The Mother Country

November – December, 2011

Shakesqueer: A Queer Companion to the Complete Works of Shakespeare (Series Q) Edited by Madhavi Menon
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THIS FASCINATING COLLECtion of essays explores the queer elements within all of Shakespeare’s works. With contributions from scholars of both queer studies and Shakespeare, the volume represents a joining of the two fields rarely attempted before.

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AS a university professor in Japan and a dabbler in its gay history, I must admit a certain fascination with the institution known as “nanshoku.” Literally “male colors,” nanshoku describes a wide range of Japanese same-sex relationships from ancient times up until the end of the 1860’s.

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Decadence Mandchoue: The China Memoirs of Sir Edmund Trelawny Backhouse Edited by Derek Sandhaus
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SIR EDMUND BACKHOUSE (1873-1944) has long been considered one of the prime homosexual self-fantasists of the last century-as delusional and self-created as “Baron Corvo,” the pederastic social climber who appointed his fictionalized self as Pope in the novel Hadrian the Seventh (1904) and inspired A. J. A. Symons’s classic sleuth biography The Quest for Corvo (1934).

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He Kills Me
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A TWENTY-YEAR retrospective of Donald Moffett’s work titled The Extravagant Vein has been mounted by the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, where it will remain on view until January 8, 2012. After that, the exhibit will travel to the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery of Skidmore College in Sara-toga Springs, New York, and then (next June) to the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. Accompanying the exhibit is a handsome, full-color catalog, published by the Houston museum and Skira/Rizzoli, which includes essays by Bill Arning and Russell Ferguson, an interview with Douglas Crimp, and an overview by exhibit curator Valerie Cassel Oliver.

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Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato
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IF you don’t know the names of Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, you may have missed a lot of GLBT cinema over the past twenty years. For this exclusive interview I caught up with [Fenton] Bailey and [Randy] Barbato at World of Wonder in Hollywood.

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Stein and Toklas
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FEW AUTHORS have been more intent on making a reputation for themselves than Gertrude Stein. The fact that her name is known today by many people who have never read a word she wrote testifies to the success-but also somewhat to the failure-of her endeavor. As depicted most recently by Kathy Bates in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, which examined the continuing American fascination with an image of Paris in the 1920’s that Stein did a great deal to create, Stein is better known for the artistic careers she fostered than for her own creative output.

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NEVER PUBLISHED during her lifetime, To Do is an abecedarian book with as much child appeal as an Edward Gorey ‘A is for …’ book. This was actually [Gertrude] Stein’s second book written for children.

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Mitko by Garth Greenwell
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THE RESTROOMS at Bulgaria’s National Palace of Culture had just one use—and it wasn’t to relieve oneself. So when the American teacher descended the stairs and was captured by a hushed voice, he knew full well what was going to happen. The young man was tall and thin with a “close-cropped military cut of hair so popular among young men … a hyper-masculine style” and he seemed a little bad-boy dangerous. He couldn’t speak English well and the American could only grasp a few words of Bulgarian …

Mitko was the man’s name …

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The Queer Art of Failure by Judith Halberstam
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FOR THOSE who are skeptical of a gay rights movement that aspires only to enable GLBT individuals to join the cultural mainstream, this book will seem as refreshing as water in a desert. Judith Halberstam looks at a variety of media to find ‘queer’ subtexts that undermine a mainstream conception of personal success as based on heterosexual marriage, childbearing, and the accumulation of property.

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