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Men in Eden: William Drummond Stewart and Same-Sex Desire in the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade [NOOK Book]

Overview

The American West of the nineteenth century was a world of freedom and adventure for men of every stripe?not least also those who admired and desired other men. Among these sojourners was William Drummond Stewart, a flamboyant Scottish nobleman who found in American culture of the 1830s and 1840s a cultural milieu of openness in which men could pursue same-sex relationships. This book traces Stewart?s travels from his arrival in America in 1832 to his return to Murthly Castle in Perthshire, Scotland, with ...
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Men in Eden: William Drummond Stewart and Same-Sex Desire in the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade

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Overview

The American West of the nineteenth century was a world of freedom and adventure for men of every stripe—not least also those who admired and desired other men. Among these sojourners was William Drummond Stewart, a flamboyant Scottish nobleman who found in American culture of the 1830s and 1840s a cultural milieu of openness in which men could pursue same-sex relationships. This book traces Stewart’s travels from his arrival in America in 1832 to his return to Murthly Castle in Perthshire, Scotland, with his French Canadian–Cree Indian companion, Antoine Clement, one of the most skilled hunters in the Rockies. Benemann chronicles Stewart’s friendships with such notables as Kit Carson, William Sublette, Marcus Whitman, and Jim Bridger. He describes the wild Renaissance-costume party held by Stewart and Clement upon their return to America—a journey that ended in scandal. Through Stewart’s letters and novels, Benemann shows that Stewart was one of many men drawn to the sexual freedom offered by the West. His book provides a tantalizing new perspective on the Rocky Mountain fur trade and the role of homosexuality in shaping the American West.
  
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Editorial Reviews

Booklist

"[An] engrossing, eminently readable study of one of the most intriguing figures in the history of the Old West."—Ray Olson, Booklist starred review

— Ray Olson

Booklist - Ray Olson

"[An] engrossing, eminently readable study of one of the most intriguing figures in the history of the Old West."—Ray Olson, Booklist starred review
Max Carocci
“Masterfully interweaving historical facts, literary acumen, and anthropological data, Men in Eden brings to life with tantalizing colors the largely unexplored hidden lives of men living at the fringes of nineteenth century American society. This compelling book is essential reading for anyone interested in social history and biographical literature.”—Max Carocci, project curator at the British Museum and author of Warriors of the Plains: The Arts of Plains Indian Warfare

 

Les K. Wright

“In this highly readable book, Benemann brings the archival record to visceral life. Through his astute insights into the mindset of the era, Benemann breaths gay life into William Drummond Stewart, a larger-than-life historical figure who led a pre-medicalized, richly Whitmanesque homoerotic life. At a time when gender studies trumps, this is a very welcome and invigorating addition to the field of gay history/sexuality studies.”—Les K. Wright, author of The Bear Book and The Bear Book II
Gay & Lesbian Review/Worldwide - Christopher Lee Cochran

"Benemann's storytelling abilities are on display in this engaging and highly readable biography, which is also a worthy contribution to queer-focused early American history."—Christopher Lee Cochran, Gay & Lesbian Review/Worldwide
Journal of American History - Peter Boag

"This is an informative biography and an entertaining story that provides a rather novel view of gender and sexuality in the early West."—Peter Boag, Journal of American History
Great Plains Quarterly - Justin M. Carroll

"Wonderfully written and extensively researched."—Justin M. Carroll, Great Plains Quarterly
History Scotland - Brian Dempsey

"[A] fascinating biography."—Brian Dempsey, History Scotland
Library Journal
William Drummond Stewart (1795–1871) was a Scottish nobleman and soldier, a Byronic dandy who left his home for the New World, where he led the life of an adventurer in the Rocky Mountains. In this, the first major biography of Stewart in almost 50 years, Benemann (archivist, Boalt Hall Law Sch. Lib.; Male-Male Intimacy in Early America: Beyond Romantic Friendships) adds a shade of lavender to this colorful character. Focusing primarily on Stewart's seven years in America, the author skillfully interweaves a portrait of the outwardly macho world of the Rocky Mountain fur trappers, whose work was ideally suited to "confirmed bachelors," and a study of the influence of Native Americans who not merely accepted but ritualized homosexuality. In this almost all-male subculture, Stewart found surcease from hidebound 19th-century society, maintaining same-sex relationships with surprising candor. VERDICT Given the dearth of explicit source material, Benemann, as in his previous book, does a lot of conjecturing and inferring, parsing Stewart's letters and two novels for coded homoeroticism, but as in the earlier work, the results are utterly convincing. An engaging contribution to LGBT history; highly recommended.—Richard J. Violette, Victoria P.L., BC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803244696
  • Publisher: UNP - Bison Original
  • Publication date: 10/1/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 1,359,646
  • File size: 8 MB

Meet the Author

William Benemann is the author of A Year of Mud and Gold: San Francisco in Letters and Diaries, 1849–1850, available in a Bison Books edition, and Male-Male Intimacy in Early America: Beyond Romantic Friendships.
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