The history of gay male erotic images is largely undocumented. Even when the material has been available, "good taste" and "common decency"--those concepts used to stop all talk about sex--have prevented their display. Thomas Waugh's full-length, profusely illustrated study is a breakthrough book that has information and analysis enough for three books. Thoughtful, smart, and well-written, Hard to Imagine
uncovers a visual history of gay male eroticism that few know. It chronicles the complicated history of homosexual desire and how it has been depicted and repressed.
From Library Journal
Social historians and researchers in popular culture have recognized for some time how easily their primary sources can get lost, discarded by their users and uncollected by institutions affiliated with the dominant class. Though it is now more than two decades since historians have sought to retrieve the personal stories and reconstruct the political currents of gay and lesbian lives, social taboos have sufficiently repressed serious investigation of the sexual tastes and products of gay communities. In this vast and valuable study, Waugh (film studies, Concordia Univ., Montreal) has accumulated the most comprehensive study of gay erotic film and photography that will probably ever be undertaken. Where Allen Ellenzweig (The Homoerotic Photograph, Columbia Univ., 1992) concentrated on socially acceptable "art" photography, Waugh also examines amateur snapshots and commercial illicit works and puts them all in the context of both reflecting and contributing to changing gay social/political culture over the last 100 years. For publishing this oversize, well-illustrated work in the face continuing stigma?more than 30 printers turned down the project, delaying publication for eight months?Columbia is to be commended. For all academic collections and public libraries with gay and lesbian holdings.?Eric Bryant, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.