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No nation I’ve ever heard of

Garth Greenwell: Matthew Griffin’s ‘Hide’, 19 January 2017

Hide 
by Matthew Griffin.
Bloomsbury, 272 pp., £16.99, August 2016, 978 1 4088 6708 2
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... may have been a rational response in 1950s North Carolina: Wendell is aware of the prosecution of gay men, of the fact that he and Frank stand to lose a great deal if they are found out. But it’s frustrating that, in the novel, their isolation also has the effect of sealing them off from history. There’s almost no mention of the ferment of the 1970s and ...

The Crotch Thing

James Wood: Alan Hollinghurst, 16 July 1998

The Spell 
by Alan Hollinghurst.
Chatto, 257 pp., £15.99, July 1998, 0 7011 6519 7
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... Alan Hollinghurst’s new novel is a spoiled gift which, as an ugly baby makes us search for deficiencies in its attractive parents, forces us to reconsider its creator’s talents. That Hollinghurst possesses great talents is certainly not in question. There is probably no novelist alive with such a deeply historical feeling for English poetic lyricism ...

Among the Flutterers

Colm Tóibín: The Pope Wears Prada, 19 August 2010

The Pope Is Not Gay 
by Angelo Quattrocchi, translated by Romy Clark Giuliani.
Verso, 181 pp., £8.90, June 2010, 978 1 84467 474 9
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... way. A few weeks earlier, in her column on 30 March, Dowd had referred to the efforts to demonise gay priests as a way for the hierarchy to wriggle out of responsibility: In an ad in the Times on Tuesday, Bill Donohue, the Catholic League president, offered this illumination: ‘The Times continues to editorialise about the “paedophilia crisis”, when all ...

Former Lovers

Michael Mason, 6 September 1984

The Bourgeois Experience. Victoria to Freud Vol. I: Education of the Senses 
by Peter Gay.
Oxford, 608 pp., £18.50, March 1984, 0 19 503352 3
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Austin and Mabel: The Amherst Affair and Love Letters of Austin Dickinson and Mabel Loomis Todd 
by Polly Longsworth.
Farrar, Straus, 449 pp., £18.50, September 1984, 0 374 10716 5
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The Memoirs of John Addington Symonds 
edited by Phyllis Grosskurth.
Hutchinson, 319 pp., £14.95, May 1984, 0 09 154170 0
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... be entitled to a powerful sexual overtone, even if not the customary one. The reviewers of Peter Gay’s book have been very receptive to the thought that we have got Victorian sexuality wrong: for it is a leading part of the author’s argument that the Victorians were not prevailingly ignorant, inhibited, prudish and hypocritical about sex. But the ...

The Bergoglio Smile

Colm Tóibín: The Francis Papacy, 21 January 2021

... opposed moves to liberalise the divorce laws, and in 1994 declared on television that lesbians and gay men should be ‘locked up in a ghetto’ – homosexuality was ‘a deviation of human nature, like bestiality’. Burns writes that ‘there is no record of Bergoglio having said a word against him. As his auxiliary bishop, Bergoglio professed total loyalty ...

Unfair to gays

Simon Raven, 19 June 1980

The Homosexual as Hero in Contemporary Fiction 
by Stephen Adams.
Vision, 208 pp., £10.95, March 1980, 0 85478 204 4
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... compare small things with great) hanker after both conventional success and the goodies of Gay Cockayne, which of course is very greedy of them and quite rightly leads to their resounding pratfalls. Now, none of this is dull (though there are some ugly clots of jargon here and there), and on the whole Mr Adams’s survey of homosexual novelists, their ...

The Pills in the Fridge

Adam Mars-Jones: ‘Christodora’, 30 March 2017

Christodora 
by Tim Murphy.
Picador, 432 pp., £16.99, February 2017, 978 1 5098 1857 0
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... side?Christodora may bear a (real) building’s name, but the book itself seems still to be in search of a principle of construction. Despite the prominence of the Christodora in the title and the opening passages, this isn’t one of those novels that represents a building as a world in miniature, in the manner of books as different as Alaa Al-Aswany’s ...

Lost in Beauty

Michael Newton: Montgomery Clift, 7 October 2010

The Passion of Montgomery Clift 
by Amy Lawrence.
California, 333 pp., £16.95, May 2010, 978 0 520 26047 4
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... His career at first was defined by his personal beauty; he was the bobby-soxers’ dreamboat, a gay guy for the straight eye. Karl Malden declared that ‘he had the face of a saint,’ an especially poignant compliment when we consider that it was spoken by a man with the face of a heavy-drinking Cabbage Patch doll. Clift made relatively few films, but ...

Diary

Stephen Smith: A 17-year-old murder victim, 5 February 1998

... were found in his body. In effect, two investigations were running side by side: as well as the search for anyone who knew anything about Christopher’s death, there was a kind of posthumous manhunt for Christopher himself. Who was he? How had he wound up like this? A man of 20 has been charged with his murder and remanded in custody, having agreed to be ...

Porno Swagger

Edmund Gordon: ‘Cleanness’, 16 April 2020

Cleanness 
by Garth Greenwell.
Picador, 223 pp., £14.99, April, 978 0 374 12458 8
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... of straight people.’ The unnamed narrator of Greenwell’s first two books responds to other gay writers in a similar way. He assigns his students Frank O’Hara ‘primarily for his joy, his freedom from guardedness and guilt’. But Greenwell’s own qualities aren’t necessarily those of his idols. Although he describes ...

Lost Artist

Karl Miller, 4 November 1982

... Marchmont playroom, the Humphrey Lyttelton 78’s began to turn, and Rory began to sing: his own gay songs, Border Ballads, the Blues – learnt from Leadbelly and Louis Armstrong. He was educated at Eton, became a National Service officer with the Cameron Highlanders, and went on to read English at Cambridge. It is possible to imagine the eyes of the ...

Here was a plague

Tom Crewe, 27 September 2018

How to Survive a Plague: The Story of How Activists and Scientists Tamed Aids 
by David France.
Picador, 624 pp., £12.99, September 2017, 978 1 5098 3940 7
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Patient Zero and the Making of the Aids Epidemic 
by Richard A. McKay.
Chicago, 432 pp., £26.50, November 2017, 978 0 226 06395 9
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Modern Nature: The Journals of Derek Jarman, 1989-90 
by Derek Jarman.
Vintage, 314 pp., £9.99, May 2018, 978 1 78487 387 5
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Smiling in Slow Motion: The Journals of Derek Jarman, 1991-94 
by Derek Jarman.
Vintage, 388 pp., £9.99, August 2018, 978 1 78487 516 9
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The Ward 
by Gideon Mendel.
Trolley, 88 pp., £25, December 2017, 978 1 907112 56 0
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... about my health.There were jokes by now: ‘What turns fruits into vegetables?’; ‘What does gay stand for? – Got Aids Yet?’ The sex that had made illness the future became suspect. ‘The problem with sex is I get the feeling that I’m not even supposed to think about it,’ Oscar Moore wrote in his PWA (Person with Aids) column for the ...

The Annual MLA Disaster

John Sutherland, 16 December 1993

The Modern Language Association of America: Program for the 109th Convention, Vol. 108, No. 6 
November 1993Show More
The Modern Language Association: Job Information List 
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... Post, the New York Times, or the Toronto Globe and Mail will seize on Panel 688, ‘Lesbian and Gay Studies: Conflicting Desires’, which features as its third speaker Gregory W. Bredbeck of the University of California Riverside and his rousing talk ‘Fuck Your Gender’. If gender-fucking is too heavy there are scores of other papers with which to amaze ...
Bowie 
by Jerry Hopkins.
Elm Tree, 275 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 241 11548 5
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Alias David Bowie 
by Peter Gillman and Leni Gillman.
Hodder, 511 pp., £16.95, September 1986, 0 340 36806 3
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... he cried. “You’ve got this one!” ’ Bowie did not want to pose as a respectable gay: under the new legislation it would be better to pose as a shocking and daring gay. He was not conspicuously gay in his adolescence. The Gillmans quote a smart girl called Dana ...

Like a Failed Cake

Edmund Gordon: Keith Ridgway, 6 December 2012

Hawthorn & Child 
by Keith Ridgway.
Granta, 282 pp., £12.99, July 2012, 978 1 84708 741 6
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... if we grabbed his home computer we’d get a stash of little girl pics,’ Child says. Hawthorn is gay and Child is black, but this isn’t a sign that Ridgway’s version of the Met is politically liberal: their colleagues have the bigoted attitudes more traditionally associated with the police. It’s hard to see these two as heroes – even Child thinks ...

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