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13+ Works 359 Membros 5 Críticas

About the Author

Includes the name: Greg Woods

Obras por Gregory Woods

Associated Works

First Person Queer: Who We Are (So Far) (2007) — Contribuidor — 92 exemplares
A Room in Chelsea Square (1958) — Introdução, algumas edições89 exemplares
Look Down in Mercy (1951) — Introdução, algumas edições43 exemplares
The Lost Library: Gay Fiction Rediscovered (2010) — Contribuidor — 40 exemplares
The Freezer Counter: Stories by Gay Men (1989) — Contribuidor — 25 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum



The author covers the homoerotic themes in poetry of Lawrence, Crane, Auden, Ginsberg and others in this fascinating exploration of gay poetry. The significance of sexual orientation is emphasized in a serious and thoughtful manner.
jwhenderson | Nov 5, 2022 |
It shouldn't need to be said, but the "Homintern" was always a joke. Outside the imaginations of a few warped homophobes, there never has been and never will be a giant, international lesbian and gay conspiracy to take over the arts/politics/broadcasting/espionage. Even at the gayest moments in western culture — Paris around the First World War, for instance, or Weimar Berlin — there were always at least half a dozen aggressively successful Hemingways and Henry Millers to every Diaghilev or Magnus Hirschfeld.

Sadly it also turns out to have been such an obvious joke in the interwar years that it's impossible to say at this distance who originally came up with it: there are at least half a dozen plausible candidates, roughly evenly divided between ironic queers and scaremongering homophobes.

Woods takes us on a long, pleasurably discursive stroll through the history of western LGBT culture from Oscar Wilde to Manuel Puig, focusing on the connections within groups of writers, artists, musicians, film-makers and performers in the places where they particularly came together — Paris and Berlin, Capri and Taormina, Tangier, Rome, Harlem and Greenwich Village, etc. It's a fairly arbitrary selection, in which Woods is evidently allowing himself to be guided by his own curiosity: some supposedly important people are barely mentioned, others we might not have heard of are looked at in quite a lot of detail. Natalie Barney gets a lot more airtime than Gertrude Stein, for instance, and Woods is a big fan of Norman Douglas but clearly can't motivate himself to take Isherwood seriously. We hear a lot more about Virgil Thomson than about the semi-closeted but much more successful Benjamin Britten, too. Radclyffe Hall — predictably — comes out of his account as far too earnest for her own good. Woods oddly seems to have enjoyed Brigid Brophy's book on Firbank much more than Firbank's own books, which barely get a mention. And he concludes the book on the wonderful image of the elderly Louis Aragon revelling in the experience of gay pride marches in late-70s Paris "in a pink convertible, surrounded by ephebes".

There are patterns, of sorts, that emerge. Woods reasons that lesbians and gay men probably don't have more or less "artistic temperament" than anyone else, but that they have often found the arts a less hostile working environment than elsewhere, hence the proliferation of queer writers, composers, etc. He talks about the conflicting temptations to merge into the bourgeois invisibility of the closet or to use camp to depict yourself as outrageous but harmless, and about the way some queer people have found themselves drawn towards revolutionary politics on the left or the right, even though neither side has made them welcome. And about the complicated relationship between queer culture and racism, in particular antisemitism.

A very enjoyable book, full of efficient summaries of people's work and witty anecdotes about their lives, but probably also one you could easily get lost in unless you already have at least a general idea of who most of these people are.
… (mais)
1 vote
thorold | 1 outra crítica | Sep 11, 2022 |
Free early reviewer copy. This book is very hard to classify. It’s a gossipy, tidbit-strewn account of how gay, bisexual, and lesbian people influenced culture, and each other, across Europe and Russia and with a few jaunts to the US and the Mediterranean, from roughly Oscar Wilde’s time through about the 1960s. Mostly the book focuses on literary works and painting/sculpture, with a bit of film. Woods argues that gays and lesbians (the only categories widely recognized during most of the relevant period, though often under other names) were in fact more likely to have international links and commitments than heterosexuals, in part because, for example, Oscar Wilde was the only public figure they knew to identify with. Also, they were more likely to feel they needed to flee where they were.

Though heterosexual authors sometimes alleged that there was a homosexual conspiracy to promote fellow gay authors, Woods deems the “Homintern” a means of self-protection and only noticeable because it wasn’t the promotion of like-minded souls considered perfectly acceptable for heterosexuals (for which read heterosexual men—when Woods compares dedicating a book to a same-sex lover to dedicating a book to an opposite-sex spouse, it’s hard not to notice that, during this period, it was relatively rare for a wife to have the same kind of career as her husband, or to be helpful to him in it in the way that an oft-published fellow writer could be). Homosexuals’ cosmopolitanism was sexy and modern between the wars, then dangerous and corrupt—as Woods points out, this internationalism/urbanism was also associated with Jews, and Jewish homosexuals played a particularly large role in U.S. popular culture of the 20th century. Condemnation of the “gay mafia” in theater/fashion/etc., Woods argues, reflects homophobia rather than an understandable reaction to overrepresentation; as he points out, though you can list lots of culturally influential gays and lesbians, for every one of them “it is possible to name ten or so (presumed) heterosexuals in equivalent positions of cultural power.”

When homosexuality had to be concealed, the closet became both “compulsory and blameworthy,” a sign of untrustworthiness. In the period after Wilde’s conviction, homophobia and criticism of art were mutually reinforcing: people claimed that what was wrong with homosexuality was that “it tended towards the soppily arty, the morbidly affected and the frivolous,” and that what was wrong with art was that it was too gay. Italians called homosexuality “oscarwildismo” or “wildismo” and the French used “Dorian Gray” to mean gay. Later, homosexuality was blamed both for Nazism and for the lax morality of Weimar Berlin that supposedly led to the Nazis. (Edward Albee writing about a Berlin bar with wrestling matches in which the winner supposedly went to the highest bidder sounds straight out of fanfic to me, but sure, why not?) Woods spares some time for George Orwell’s homophobia (and Eric Blair’s brief gay phase at Oxford), and for Dylan Thomas’s.

As for gays in Hollywood, Woods argues that they were often privately open but only if they played along in public: the “consistently hostile representations of homosexuality for most of the twentieth century show[] that the considerable collective power so many individuals had was ceded to them under strict conditions.” The “presumed homophobia” of the mass audience still constrains Hollywood, in Woods’ view. The slowly developing image of a “good,” discreet homosexual (almost always a man, of course) was one response to homophobia, an attempt to appease it that also kept homosexuality secretive and therefore potentially threatening. This idea of discretion was misleading because reports of people who were persecuted and even prosecuted for being homosexual always indicated that they’d been “indiscreet”; people who hadn’t yet been found out thought that if they behaved, they’d be fine, not realizing that if they were caught, their “story would be told in such a way, by reporters and prosecutors alike, that [they] would appear indiscreet even to other homosexuals.” I was interested in the kind of double consciousness Woods described, in which many gay men who chose to live as gay men “did so both in the full knowledge of the fact that they could be prosecuted and yet in the hope—the necessary hope—that they would not be.”

Woods also spends some time on the reaction of older, mostly literary, gays and lesbians to the LGBT+ civil rights movement in the 60s-80s—a lot of “get offa my lawn” and “you’re making too big a deal of this,” sadly. In 1988, Alec Guiness worried that Ian McKellen and his ilk would create a “horrid backlash.” “They had not struggled quietly for so many years (those of them who had) for a bunch of hairy hippies to take up the freedoms the new legal situation had handed them and thereby, by association, brand all homosexual men as hedonistic weirdos.” Proving once again that the narcisissm of small differences is transcultural, Woods says that a lot of their discomfort focused on the term “gay.” Lesbians had their own struggles—first versus second-wave feminism, separatism versus integration, and so on. Interestingly, Woods also argues that, while earlier generations took models from classical Greece or ideas about Greece, the newer generations were “engaging with what they could garner from cinema.”

Also: Woods says that John Sutherland was speaking about W.H. Auden’s attitude towards rent boys in the line “one paid them not for sex, but to go away after sex,” which is an attribution I hadn’t seen before.
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rivkat | 1 outra crítica | Jul 3, 2016 |
The first full-scale account of gay male literature. Impressive in that it covers everything from the end of the twentieth century to the classics of ancient Greece. Since modernism and post-modernism have emerged, it is helpful to take a retrospective look at the body of work written by and about gay men.
jwhenderson | 1 outra crítica | Feb 28, 2013 |


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