In the three decades since New York City's Stonewall rebellion, gay literature has exploded as a distinctive form of cultural expression. In a variety of styles and genres, gay men have increasingly begun to articulate their sexual identities. At the same time, gay writers and scholars have begun in earnest the search for a literary history long denied by the refusal to recognize homosexual love as an integral part of Western literature. Yet to date, no single volume has brought together the full range of poetry, fiction, essays, and autobiography that portray love between men.
From the Epic of Gilgamesh to the poems of Allen Ginsberg and gay literature of the 1980s and '90s, The Columbia Anthology of Gay Literature draws together hundreds of texts from Western literary history that describe experiences of love, friendship, intimacy, desire, and sex among men. While other anthologies have focused primarily on poetry, drama, or fiction, this volume is the first to include a full range of genres. Spanning more than two millennia, from ancient Mesopotamia to the late twentieth century, this anthology brings together the best-known texts of gay male writing such as the poetry of Martial and Walt Whitman, and excerpts from E. M. Forster's Maurice, as well as from lesser known works such as nineteenth-century English homoerotic poetry and selections from two early American novels of homosexual love-- Joseph and His Friend and Imre.
In The Columbia Anthology readers become acquainted with the early bonds of male companionship found in Homer's writings on Zeus and Ganymede, and with the homoerotic poetry of Catullus and Juvenal. From Shakespeare's Sonnets to the philosophy of de Sade, to the political writings of Edmund White, this masterful anthology traces a multifaceted tradition.
Arranged chronologically, sections are supplemented by illuminating introductory essays; many individual pieces include background commentary on the writer and the work.
As a landmark to the enduring spirit of gay writers, this collection is an essential addition to the library of anyone searching for the historical foundations of gay identities. With its excellent annotations and suggestions for further reading, The Columbia Anthology of Gay Literature will also serve as an invaluable resource to students and scholars in need of a guide to a massive body of literature that has long been hidden, ignored, or misrepresented.