Gay American Autobiography

Overview


In the first anthology to survey the full range of gay men’s autobiographical writing from Walt Whitman to the present, Gay American Autobiography draws excerpts from letters, journals, oral histories, memoirs, and autobiographies to provide examples of the best life writing over the last century and a half.
    Volume editor David Bergman guides the reader chronologically through selected writings that give voice to every generation of gay writers since the ...
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Overview


In the first anthology to survey the full range of gay men’s autobiographical writing from Walt Whitman to the present, Gay American Autobiography draws excerpts from letters, journals, oral histories, memoirs, and autobiographies to provide examples of the best life writing over the last century and a half.
    Volume editor David Bergman guides the reader chronologically through selected writings that give voice to every generation of gay writers since the nineteenth century, including a diverse array of American men of African, European, Jewish, Asian, and Latino heritage. Documenting a range of life experiences that encompass tattoo artists and academics, composers and drag queens, hustlers and clerks, it contains accounts of turn-of-the-century transvestites, gay rights activists, men battling AIDS, and soldiers attempting to come out in the army. Each selection provides important insight on the wide spectrum of ways gay men have defined and lived their lives, highlighting how self-awareness changes an author’s experience.
    The volume includes an introduction by Bergman and headnotes for each of the nearly forty entries. Bringing many out-of-print and hard-to-find works to new readers, this challenging and comprehensive anthology chronicles American gay history and life struggles over the course of the past 150 years.
 
 
Finalist, Lambda Book Award for LGBT Anthology, Lambda Literary Foundation
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Intimacy as history! I adored these glimpses into gay men’s lives, and thank David Bergman for having uncovered them. I only wish I’d had this book decades sooner.”—Michael Lowenthal, author of Charity Girl

“Bergman has brought together an impressive, diverse cache of source materials in a field which has been written on, but has always lacked a generic anthology. There have been subject- and period-based anthologies, but nothing spanning the 150 years or so of available material in this way.”—Richard Canning, University of Sheffield

Publishers Weekly

The earlier entries in this panoramic compilation of gay male autobiography rely mostly on letters and journals, mined by Bergman for homo-affectionate allusions: 19th-century writers such as Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman and Henry James thus reveal themselves. Excerpts of work by more contemporary authors, from poet Edward Field and historian Martin Duberman to science fiction author Samuel R. Delany and performance artist Justin Chin-the youngest born in 1969-are more explicit about their queer lives. Paul Monette, dying of AIDS, writes movingly about hoping to outlive his dog, and a strutting John Rechy, still very much alive, writes puckishly about prissy homosexuals of the '70s. Gay literary (and living) icons Edmund White, Andrew Holleran and David Sedaris are rightly represented, but works by David Wojnarowicz, David Feinberg, Essex Hemphill and Gil Cuadros, all dead of AIDS, are a poignant reminder of literary lives cut short. Bergman's selections artfully avoid the standard coming-out tropes of 20th-century writers in favor of intimate, immediate literature penned by homosexuals well out of the closet. (July)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299230449
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2009
  • Series: Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiog
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 428
  • Sales rank: 538,832
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


David Bergman is professor of English at Towson State University and author of numerous books including Cracking the Code, winner of the 1985 George Elliston Poetry Prize, and Men on Men 2000, winner of the 2001 Lambda Literary Award for Best Literary Anthology.
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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments   
Permissions   
Introduction   

Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), from his journals   
Walt Whitman (1819–1892), from his letters to Peter Doyle   
Henry James (1843–1916), from his letters to Hendrick Andersen   
Charles Warren Stoddard (1843–1909), "Chumming with a Savage: Kána-aná"   
Alexander Berkman (1870–1936), from Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist   
Claude Hartland (1871–?), from The Story of a Life   
Earl Lind (1874–?), from Autobiography of an Androgyne   
Russell Cheney (1881–1945) and F. O. Matthiessen (1902–1950), from Rat and the Devil   
"Jeb Alexander" (1899–1965), from Jeb and Dash   
Glenway Wescott (1901–1987), from Continual Lessons   
Lincoln Kirstein (1906–1996), "Carlsen, Crane"   
Samuel M. Steward (Phil Andros) (1909–1993), "The Magic Summer"   
Paul Goodman (1911–1972), from Five Years   
Tobias Schneebaum (1922–2005), "The Priest and the Pagans"   
Ned Rorem (b. 1923), from The New York Diary   
Edward Field (b. 1924), "Gay in the Army"   
Minette (1928–2001), from Recollections of a Part-Time Lady   
Martin Duberman (b. 1930), from Cures   
Michael Rumaker (b. 1932), from A Day and a Night at the Baths   
John Rechy (b. 1934), from The Sexual Outlaw   
Alan Helms (b. 1937), from Young Man from the Provinces   
Arnie Kantrowitz (b. 1940), from Under the Rainbow   
Edmund White (b. 1940), "Writing Gay"   
Samuel R. Delany (b. 1942), from The Motion of Light in Water   
Andrew Holleran (b. 1943), "My Harvard"   
Paul Monette (1945–1995), "Puck"   
Jaime Manrique (b. 1949), "The Last Days of Reinaldo Arenas"   
Kevin Killian (b. 1952), "Cherry"   
Michael Klein (b. 1954), "The End of Being Known"   
David Wojnarowicz (1954–1992), "Memories That Smell Like Gasoline"   
David B. Feinberg (1956–1994), "On the Drip"   
David Sedaris (b. 1956), "Hejira"   
Essex Hemphill (1957–1995), "Ceremonies"   
Wayne Koestenbaum (b. 1960), "The Aryan Boy"   
Gil Cuadros (1962–1996), "Chivalry"   
Justin Chin (b. 1969), from Attack of the Man-Eating Lotus Blossoms   

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