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In Love with a Handsome Sailor: The Emergence of Gay Identity and the Novels of Pierre Loti
     

In Love with a Handsome Sailor: The Emergence of Gay Identity and the Novels of Pierre Loti

by Richard M. Berrong
 

Writing at first anonymously and later under the pen name Pierre Loti, French author Julien Viaud (1850-1923) produced a series of fictions that sympathetically portrayed male same-sex desire and its accompanying societal conflicts. Due to the constraints of the time, Viaud had to develop various strategies for discussing his subject covertly; his success in doing

Overview

Writing at first anonymously and later under the pen name Pierre Loti, French author Julien Viaud (1850-1923) produced a series of fictions that sympathetically portrayed male same-sex desire and its accompanying societal conflicts. Due to the constraints of the time, Viaud had to develop various strategies for discussing his subject covertly; his success in doing so is demonstrated by the great critical and commercial success he enjoyed during his lifetime, which included his election to the French Academy at age forty-one.

Richard Berrong presents a gay reading of the novels and novellas of Julien Viaud, chronologically tracing his development of a distinct homosexual identity and the strategies that he employed to discuss it in a way that would not be obvious to the general public. In so doing, Berrong asserts that Viaud's development of a homosexual identity undermined and realigned dominant constructions of masculinity, presented the need for gay community, and elaborated the role of literature for gay men. The first book-length gay reading of Viaud's corpus, this work will make an important contribution not only to the study of Viaud, but also to the study of gay and lesbian history, culture, and literature.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802036957
Publisher:
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date:
05/28/2003
Series:
University of Toronto Romance Series
Pages:
360
Product dimensions:
6.22(w) x 9.29(h) x 1.21(d)

What People are Saying About This

James Creech
'It would be hard to imagine a more complete grasp of every detail of Viaud's sizable œuvre, and of the ample criticism that it has generated since the end of the 19th century. By working so closely and thoroughly with the texts themselves, Berrong offers a new and expanded model for this kind of analysis, one that we sorely need ... Without shying away from received theoretical constructs when they add something constructive, Professor Berrong goes as far as one can go with the text itself, its logical connections, and implications based in common language and common sense. This study demonstrates how many taboo things one can 'know' through reading literature - then as well as today - when one achieves the will and the freedom to know them ... No other author makes so forceful an argument for Loti's place at the heart of the contemporary preoccupation with sexuality in literature.'

Meet the Author

Richard M. Berrong is a Professor in the Department Modern and Classical Language Studies at Kent State University and an Affiliate in their Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Studies Minor Program.

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