The revised edition of The Gay and Lesbian LiteraryHeritage is a reader's companion to this impressive body of work. It provides overviews of gay and lesbian presence in a variety of literatures and historical periods; in-depth critical essays on major gay and lesbian authors in world literature; and briefer treatments of other topics and figures important in appreciating the rich and varied gay and lesbian literary traditions. Included are nearly 400 alphabetically arranged articles by more than 175 scholars from around the world. New articles in this volume feature authors such as Michael Cunningham, Tony Kushner, Anne Lister, Kate Millet, Jan Morris, Terrence McNally, and Sarah Waters; essays on topics such as Comedy of Manners and Autobiography; and overviews of Danish, Norwegian, Philippines, and Swedish literatures; as well as updated and revised articles and bibliographies.
Comprehensive in scope, taking us from ancient to contemporary times and treating each topic with an admirable thoroughness, this is the first edition of what I predict will become an authoritative record for an expanding 'literary heritage'.
This remarkable volume contains essential reading for gay people seeking evidence of ancient roots and roles—and for anyone else who wants a more complete picture of the origins of literary endeavor than formal education usually offers.
The rerelease of The Gay & Lesbian Literary Heritage-published in 1995 by Holt-is to be celebrated for at least bringing back into print this best-ever, single-volume reference on the subject. Summers (English, Univ. of Michigan) presents both biographical and topical entries with an international scope, though the emphasis is on American and English literature. The writing is informative but also provocative, critical and yet consistently accurate and inclusive in the selection of works discussed. Unfortunately, of more than 380 entries, just 32 are new, and very few of the others have been revised or had their bibliographies updated. Allen Ginsberg's entry now has a death date and one new citation, but the text is untouched; the nine-column entry on AIDS literature, which previously delineated the most significant works year by year through 1994, adds just two scant paragraphs on the last seven years while revising none of the earlier text; and the entry on opera remains unchanged, thereby failing to note recent operas that for the first time deal overtly with gay themes (e.g., Stewart Wallace's Harvey Milk and Carla Lucero's Wuornos). Libraries that don't own the first edition or have worn it out should purchase this topnotch work despite the flaws, but those that still have the original can wait and hope for a fuller update. Presenting biographical entries on nearly 450 writers, Who's Who in Lesbian & Gay Writing differs from most of the previous two dozen titles in Routledge's series, which deal with historical figures or fictional characters (e.g., the Old Testament, the Greek world, military history). The significance of this distinction becomes clear when reading Griffin's entries, which are crammed with facts but offer little literary analysis. The entries lack the citations to critical secondary sources that one might expect in a who's who of writers as well as lists of significant publications, forcing Griffin to enumerate book titles and publication years in the text proper. She further dulls the text by emphasizing the names and dates of personal relationships over the qualities of the authors' writing. To be fair, one encyclopedist could not be expected to demonstrate critical knowledge of so many writers in the way that a biblical scholar might be able to expatiate on the personages of the Old Testament. The book is most successful in its selection of worthy subjects, something Griffin notes can be particularly problematic given the contested sexuality of some writers. The choices are all the more admirable given the book's breadth, encompassing writers from all places and all periods. Still, most of the subjects here can already be found in other sources, making the only justification for this publication a resounding emphasis on the homosexual slant of an author's life or work-an approach Griffin loses among the minutiae of mundane facts. Recommended only for large subject collections.-Eric Bryant, "Library Journal" Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Claude J. Summers is William E. Stirton Professor in the Humanities and Professor of English at the University of Michigan, Dearborn. He has written widely on 17th-century English literature; written book-length critical studies on Christopher Marlowe, E. M. Forster, and Christopher Isherwood; and is the author of GayFictions: Wilde to Stonewall. He received the Lambda Literary Award for the first edition of The Gay andLesbian Literary Heritage.
African-American Literature: Gay Male & Lesbian, Aids Literature, June Arnold, Autobiography: Gay Male & Lesbian, Christopher Bram, Rupert Brooke, Comedy of Manners, Michael Cunningham, Danish Literature, Melvin Dixon, Emma Donoghue, Dramatic Literature: Modern & Contemporary, Finnish Literature, Jewell Gomez, Jim Grimsley, Hafiz, E. Lynn Harris, Hanif Kureishi, Tony Kushner, Selma Lagerlof, Anne Lister, Terrence McNally, Kate Millett, Gabriela Mistral, Jan Morris, Norwegian Literature, Kate O'Brien, Philippine Literature, Rumi, Sa'di, George Sand, Swedish Literature, Sarah Waters, Jacqueline Woodson