Contemporary gay literature is often thought to have no antecedents, either because no works on gay themes were written before our time or because the new gay fiction is so stylistically innovative that nothing like it has ever been seen before. Neither proposition is so. As this volume demonstrates, a rich array of gay literature appeared before E.M. Forster wrote openly of homosexuality in his 1914 novel, Maurice, though much of it was in coded form. Leavitt, one of the leading gay writers of his generation, joins with lover and sometime coauthor Mitchell to offer a choice selection of strictly male homosexual prose by authors ranging from Melville, Pater, Henry James, and Lawrence to Count Eric Stenbock and Gerald Hamilton. The lineage here is that of Forster, whose stylerich, thick, occassionally ebullient, and often bordering on the morosecan be seen as the touchstone. (Indeed, Leavitt self-consciously takes his style from Forster.) A necessary addition to all librariesthat is, until gay men get their own Norton.David Azzolina, Univ. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Anthologizes works from the era before homosexuality was openly discussed in English literature. Included are stories from such well-known authors as Melville, James, Cather, Lawrence, Ambrose Bierce and 24 other writers. Reveals how homosexual themes were often encoded in works intended for the general public, or discussed more openly only in works which were privately published for a select audience. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.