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Love in a Dark Time: And Other Explorations of Gay Lives and Literature Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 8, 2002


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Hardcover, Bargain Price, October 8, 2002
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0743229444
  • ASIN: B000C4SHA4
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,169,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Departing from recent novels The Blackwater Lightship and The Story of the Night and nonfiction such as his Bad Blood: A Walk Along the Irish Border, Dublin-based writer Toibin offers nine case studies in as many chapters of how "gay life" has informed our readings of writers, artists and filmmakers like Oscar Wilde, Francis Bacon, Elizabeth Bishop, James Baldwin, Pedro Almodovar and Mark Doty. The chapter "Goodbye to Catholic Ireland" wonders if Cathal ¢ Searchaigh is the first gay poet in the Irish language, and speaks against the Church's continued hold on the Irish life of the mind.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

A noted Irish novelist and critic discovers the comforts of gay literature.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Happily LOVE IN A DARK TIME is as fascinating a read as his novels.
Grady Harp
The essays in the book are unrelated, and Toibin has not even bothered to go back and revise them to create some kind of coherent thread that might link them.
B. Wilfong
Unless you read the word "lives" in the subtitle as "biographies" (as few will do) this book is not what it promises to be.
Ford Ka

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Once captured by the liquid, informed prose of Colm Tóibín it is difficult to ignore anything this brilliant writer has written. Still under the spell of 'The Master' and having just sadly finished 'The Story of the Night' (that novel could have been extended another 300 pages!), it seemed only appropriate to read an investigative work, just to see how this man's mind absorbs and dissects the world of reality instead the one of fiction.

Happily LOVE IN A DARK TIME is as fascinating a read as his novels. Tóibín searches the lives of many writers and artists asking how did/does their sexuality inform what they create. After a few historic references regarding the gay aspects of Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Melville, Joyce, Lorca, Yeats, Kafka, Proust, Gide et at, he analyses biographies (example: Lionel Trilling's bio of EM Forster) that appear unaware of the subject's sexual proclivities! That thrusts us into the exploration of history before the term 'homosexual' was created, regards the aspects of 'the gay being', and proceeds to introduce postulates as to how the works created by nine particular people were deeply influenced by their sexuality, occult or accepted.

What then follows is a richly detailed and elegant series of essays on Henry James, Oscar Wilde, Roger Casement (of The Black Diaries), Thomas Mann, Francis Bacon (the painter), Elizabeth Bishop, James Baldwin, Thom Gunn, Pedro Almodovar, and Mark Doty. In each essay Tóibín takes a new stance of investigation, finding incidents or traits in the lives of those discussed that allow 'stories' to develop naturally.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Corbin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is my first nonfiction read by Toibin. I've read three of his novels and think he gets better with each one. THE BLACKWATER LIGHTSHIP was an altogether fine book and deserved the Booker Prize I think. So I couldn't wait to start this one. I confess that I'm not sure what is going on here. In the introduction Mr. Toibin presents some of his favorite artists. He says that he writes about "gay figures for whom, in the main, being gay seemed to come second in their public lives" writers who write in code, whose works are not published during their lifetime, who use vague pronouns in their poetry. (Certainly I wouldn't have wanted to miss a novel like "DEATH IN VENICE," for instance.) Toibin goes on further to say that writing this book helped him come to terms with his "own interest in secret, erotic energy," his interest in both Catholicism and Irish Protestants, his admiration for "figures who lived in a dark time and were not afraid," and his fascination with sadness and tragedy. Herein lives Mr. Toibin's problem. He takes on too much in too little space. Additionally his treatment of these artists he admires is wildly uneven, both in depth and space. For example, the chapter on Oscar Wilde covers almost 50 pages; the chapter on Mark Doty-- one of my favorite writers-- covers only 7. And for the life of me I'm not sure what Mr. Toibin is trying to say in the concluding chapter entitled "Good-bye to Catholic Ireland," a chapter I read twice. Like many Catholics who attempt to say what is wrong with their church, Mr. Toibin is too "tentative," a word he uses elsewhere in this book, in his taking on the church. Certainly he is not alone in his dilemma, however. It's easy for me to make that criticism, never having walked in a Catholic altar boy's shoes either.Read more ›
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Joseph J. Hanssen on April 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This retrospective from this award-winning Irish gay novelist is a very informative, enlightening, and opinionated reading for anyone, but especially gay readers, interested in gay literature. The author's aim was to write a book about a group of authors and their books that he read in his youth, that deeply influenced him, and that he discovered only years later were by gay authors. These authors became companions that had the same interests as he did. Toibin examines the lives of such authors as; Thomas Mann, James Baldwin, Roger Casement, and poets Mark Doty, and Thom Gunn. These authors are some of the most influential gay writers of our time, but some had to keep their sexuality hidden by choice or necessity. I enjoyed all of Toibin's examinations of these fine authors but after reading Toibin's chapter about Roger Casement's "Black Diaries", which were supposedly vivid records of his sexual partners, I'm still left wondering whether or not they really existed.

This book shows how deeply serious this author is about his love of books. You will walk away with an entirely new view of the life and work of these authors who have clearly influenced Toibin's life. It is a book that makes you think of your own favorite authors and how they have affected your life. This is a wonderful book, like no other I have read. Highly Recommended!
Joe Hanssen
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Stahle on December 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Colm Toibin's "Love in a Dark Time" is a superior group of essays by one gay writer about other gay writers. What distinguishes this 2001 collection is how effectively Toibin sells the work of each figure essayed. I was never interested in James Baldwin before, but after reading Toibin's take, I ran out and enjoyed two Baldwin books. In the piece on Thomas Mann, we see how many of his male infatuations Mann turned into art--which infatuations into which stories--a subject being studied in detail only now by his biographers. And in the profile of Pedro Almodovar, we meet the Spanish torch singer Chavela Vargas, whom Almodovar rescued from obscurity because her confessional art mirrored so closely the values of his own cinema of women. A wonderful collection of essays that illuminate, indeed sell, each subject.
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More About the Author

Colm Toibin is the author of four previous novels, The South, The Heather Blazing, The Story of the Night, and The Blackwater Lightship, which was shortlisted for the 1999 Booker Prize. He lives in Dublin.

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