The Penguin Book of International Gay Writing

Overview

"A riotous party," says David Leavitt of this anthology, in which seventeenth-century samurai mingle with twentieth-century Russian emigres and Chinese peasants. As in The Penguin Book of Gay Short Stories, writers both gay and straight explore the complicated questions surrounding love and sex between men, homosexual identity, relationships between gay men, their friends, and their families. From Plato to Boccaccio, Marguerite Yourcenar to Reinaldo Arenas, Yukio Mishima to Manuel Puig, these writings reveal an unexpected cultural and historical
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Overview

"A riotous party," says David Leavitt of this anthology, in which seventeenth-century samurai mingle with twentieth-century Russian emigres and Chinese peasants. As in The Penguin Book of Gay Short Stories, writers both gay and straight explore the complicated questions surrounding love and sex between men, homosexual identity, relationships between gay men, their friends, and their families. From Plato to Boccaccio, Marguerite Yourcenar to Reinaldo Arenas, Yukio Mishima to Manuel Puig, these writings reveal an unexpected cultural and historical flexibility of attitudes toward homosexuality.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Leavitt and Mitchell co-edited last year's The Penguin Book of Gay Short Stories, and now Mitchell assembles 46 pieces of fiction and nonfiction in translation by 41 writers from Europe, Asia and Latin America. As before, the authors-famous and little-known, contemporary and ancient-are not necessarily gay, but do depict a broad range of homosexual experience. Many of the names are expected and welcome: Gide, Mishima, Cocteau, Puig. Wisely, Mann's "Death in Venice" is reprinted in its entirety (in a fine new translation by David Luke). By contrast, more than three-quarters of the entries are excerpts from longer works and thus suffer from a sense of incompleteness. In addition, a provocative thread running through many pieces dwells on the carnal fulfillment men find with boys, most notably in an excerpt from Tony Duvert's When Jonathan Died, about a man's physical relationship with a sexually precocious pre-adolescent. Also represented are Barthes, Balzac, Boccaccio, Yourcenar and Camus. Plato attests to the normalcy of homosexual desire. Freud deconstructs one of Leonardo's childhood memories to explore the Italian's homosexuality. Erotic responses to the martyrdom of St. Sebastian and to Christ occur several times, and an appreciation of sadomasochism is traced in several works, including the writings of the Marquis himself. Most rewarding are two short stories debuting in English: "An Angel at Orsay," by Patrick Drevet about a sensual encounter in the Musee d'Orsay, and "Mona," by Cuban Reinaldo Arenas. In the latter, Leonardo surfaces once again, this time as a lascivious Mona Lisa. (Feb.)
Library Journal
While not wholly satisfying, this latest in a stream of recent gay fiction anthologies offers some valuable, hard-to-find works and ultimately provides informative reading. As with all anthologies, some of the choices for inclusion and exclusion are questionable. Why include an excerpt from Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain when the writer's complete Death in Venice is already given 67 pages? After all, there is only one short piece from Klauss Mann, Thomas's gay brother, and nothing from postwar gay German authors such as Hubert Fichte (The Orphanage, Serpent's Tail, 1991). Indeed, the biggest problem is that well-known and much-published authors who might simply have appeared on a suggested readings list are overrepresented here (including an inexplicable excerpt from Camus's The Plague). If this was meant to be a "great books collection," the editor should have justified his choices, placed them in context, and provided author biographies. Nonetheless, finds such as Reinaldo Arenas's newly translated "Mona" and an excerpt from Edward Limonov's out-of-print It's Me, Eddie make this book a worthy addition to most libraries.-Eric Bryant, "Library Journal"
From Barnes & Noble
Seventeenth-century samurai mingle with 20th-century Russian émigrés in this anthology of writings from both gay and straight writers like Plato, Albert Camus, Sigmund Feud, and Honor, de Balzac. Among the 47 selections that explore homosexual sex, love, identity, and friendship are an account of a love affair between two brothers in post-Civil War Spain; an explosive gay version of Lolita; and a startling prefiguration of the AIDS epidemic.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140234596
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/1/1996
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 608
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 1.35 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
From Symposium 1
From Satyricon 6
From Decameron 9
From The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night 18
From Autobiography 26
From The Cut Sleeve 31
From The Great Mirror of Male Love 40
From The 120 Days of Sodom 63
From Philosophy in the Bedroom 67
"Sarrasine" 70
Letter to Louis Bouilhet 99
"The Herald of the Beast" 103
From Young Torless 110
From Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of His Childhood 116
From Corydon 126
From Madeleine 139
Death in Venice 143
From The Magic Mountain 210
From The White Book 221
From Alexis 225
"A Low Fever" 238
From The Plague 241
From Pathetic Symphony 245
From Ernesto 259
From Arturo's Island 275
From The Third Wedding 279
From Confessions of a Mask 286
From Paradiso 295
From Nearer to Thee 308
"A Prison Song in Prose" 323
From Sweet Tooth 333
From The Carnivorous Lamb 341
"One Boy's Story: 'How I Got Like That'" 366
From Betrayed by Rita Hayworth 372
From A Lover's Discourse 385
From Tricks 391
From When Jonathan Died 422
From It's Me, Eddie 429
"The Reservoir" 467
"Prikli" 474
From Gemini 485
From The Death of Beauty 492
From The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony 498
"Beauty" 528
"An Angel at Orsay" 537
"Mona" 550
"IJsbrand" 577
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