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#1
Old 10-06-2012, 11:02 PM
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What are the "gay novels of the 1940s and 1950s"?

I was reading the wiki on Gore Vidal's novel "The City and the Pillar" and at the end this comment was noted.

Quote:
The City and the Pillar sparked a public scandal, including notoriety and criticism, not only since it was released at a time when homosexuality was commonly considered immoral, but also because it was the first book by an accepted American author to portray overt homosexuality as a natural behavior.[3] The controversial reception began before the novel hit bookshelves. Prior to its even being published, an editor at EP Dutton said to Vidal, "You will never be forgiven for this book. Twenty years from now you will still be attacked for it."[5] Looking back in retrospect from 2009, it is considered by Ian Young to be "perhaps the most notorious of the gay novels of the 1940s and 1950s."[7]
What are these "gay novels"?
#2
Old 10-06-2012, 11:17 PM
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Naked Lunch and Gentlemen's Agreement come to mind.
#3
Old 10-06-2012, 11:28 PM
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The New York Times recent obituary of Tereska Torres, author of Women's Barracks, provides a fascinating look at the period.
#4
Old 10-06-2012, 11:33 PM
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I started to look up "Well of Loneliness" - but it has been around since the 20's it appears.
from Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_male_pulp_fiction
Still, some gay pulps were published by mainstream publishers throughout the 1950s and early 1960s. These were often reprints of literary novels that involved references to homosexuality, such as Charles Jackson's 1946 novel, The Fall of Valor, and Gore Vidal's 1948 novel, The City and the Pillar, which first appeared in paperback in 1950. Likewise, Blair Niles' 1931 novel Strange Brother appeared in paperback in 1952.
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:34 PM
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I started to look up "Well of Loneliness" - but it has been around since the 20's it appears.
from Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_male_pulp_fiction
Quote:
Still, some gay pulps were published by mainstream publishers throughout the 1950s and early 1960s. These were often reprints of literary novels that involved references to homosexuality, such as Charles Jackson's 1946 novel, The Fall of Valor, and Gore Vidal's 1948 novel, The City and the Pillar, which first appeared in paperback in 1950. Likewise, Blair Niles' 1931 novel Strange Brother appeared in paperback in 1952.
#6
Old 10-06-2012, 11:42 PM
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Naked Lunch, sure, but Gentlemen's Agreement was about antisemitism. But, for some others, Harrison Dowd's 'The Night Air", and Michael deForrest's "The Gay Year".
#7
Old 10-06-2012, 11:46 PM
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The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1940) - Carson McCullers
Our Lady of the Flowers (1942) - Jean Genet
In Youth is Pleasure (1945) - Denton Welch
The Fall of Valor (1946) - Charles Jackson
Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948) - Truman Capote
Confessions of a Mask (1949) - Yukio Mishima
Lucifer With a Book (1949) - John Horne Burns
The Thief's Journal (1949) - Jean Genet
Quatrefoil (1950) - James Barr
Finistere (1951) - Fritz Peters
Parents' Day (1951) - Paul Goodman
Hemlock and After (1952) - Angus Wilson
Let It Come Down (1952) - Paul Bowles
The World in the Evening (1954) - Christopher Isherwood
Yesterday Will Make You Cry (1955) - Chester Himes
Giovanni's Room (1956) - James Baldwin
Jamie Is My Heart's Desire (1956) - Alfred Chester
Sam (1959) - Lonnie Coleman
Another Country (1962) - James Baldwin
City of Night (1963) - John Rechy
A Single Man (1964) - Christopher Isherwood
Totempole (1965) - Sanford Friedman
#8
Old 10-07-2012, 12:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Amazing View Post
Naked Lunch, sure, but Gentlemen's Agreement was about antisemitism. But, for some others, Harrison Dowd's 'The Night Air", and Michael deForrest's "The Gay Year".
According to my old film professor, the book on which the film was based was about discrimination against homosexuals (I have not read it). The movie changed it to antisemitism.
#9
Old 10-07-2012, 12:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krokodil View Post
According to my old film professor, the book on which the film was based was about discrimination against homosexuals (I have not read it). The movie changed it to antisemitism.
Not true.

You MAY be thinking of the movie Crossfire, starring Robert Young and Robert Mitchum. In the book, a soldier kills a homosexual; in the movie, he kills a JEw.
#10
Old 10-07-2012, 01:13 AM
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Not really gay, I guess, but /the recognitions/ from 1954 or so did have Recktall Brown and Basil Valentine -- both major gay characters and both given choice lines. Not unsympathetic characters, not bad guys, not stereotypical mincing types.

In fact I think basil valentine has one of my favorite lines from a recent novel. On seeing a she-dog licking herself or whatever dogs do, he says, "The one really unbearable thing about females, isn't it. All of them, always so wet."

Classic. I even looked it up to make sure I didn't get it wrong. P. 235 of the paperback.

Eta didn't see mention of /crossfire/ above. +1 -- astonishing movie, and deservedly famous. Not a message movie like advise and consent, but significant in its sympathy towards a persecuted homosexual. Shit I forgot it was a Jew. Never mind.

Last edited by Jaledin; 10-07-2012 at 01:17 AM.
#11
Old 10-07-2012, 02:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaledin View Post
Not really gay, I guess, but /the recognitions/ from 1954 or so did have Recktall Brown and Basil Valentine -- both major gay characters and both given choice lines. Not unsympathetic characters, not bad guys, not stereotypical mincing types.
Brown is the major villain of the novel. He's the one who corrupts Wyatt and gets him to betray his principles and become an art forger. How's he not the bad guy?
#12
Old 10-07-2012, 08:50 AM
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From the Retronaut blog: Lesbian Pulp Fiction 1935-1958
#13
Old 10-07-2012, 09:11 AM
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The Lost Weekend by Charles Jackson (1944?). Same book the movie was made from. The drunkard was, at least in his youth, homosexual.
#14
Old 10-07-2012, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Amazing View Post
Brown is the major villain of the novel. He's the one who corrupts Wyatt and gets him to betray his principles and become an art forger. How's he not the bad guy?
I don't know...he's just this art guy. Besides, I think it's Brown who has the bit about "originality is a device that in talented people use to impress the untainted, and protect themselves from talented people."

You got to root for Brown. Fine, maybe a Milton Satanish guy. It's been four years maybe five since I last read the novel, though, and there's a lot in there to remember for an old man, so don't beat me too hard, master.
#15
Old 10-07-2012, 01:48 PM
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There's a recent book all about the writers of this period: Christopher Bram's Eminent Outlaws: the Gay Writers Who Changed America. Might be of interest.
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