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Hard to Imagine: Gay Male Eroticism in Photography and Film from Their Beginnings to Stonewall Hardcover – April 15, 1996

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.

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Product Details

  • Series: Between Men-Between Women: Lesbian and Gay Studies
  • Hardcover: 488 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (April 15, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231099983
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231099981
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.2 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,059,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is truly a great book..especially for vintage gay porn buffs... Its written and produces with an college text book feel.... which on one hand.. is good.. gives it a lot of depth.. and smarts.. but..
with the $75 price tag.. i was a bit dissapointed..
was hoping for some really great quality photos.. while the photo's quality arent bad at all. quite clear and sharp. was hoping for something along the lines of art book quality... so ifyou looking for an art coffee table book.. this really isnt one.. but if you r looking for indepth analysis (still with loads of pictures) of early gay porn.. then this is for U!!!!!!!
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By A Customer on July 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book collects the amazing research the author has done on physique photography, magazines and gay porn of the 30s, 40s, and 50s. It is great stuff, presented with a smart and detailed analysis. The only downside is the format, a weird and pricey mix of scholarly tome and coffeetable book. With the boom in "visual culture" and gay studies, it's a pity Cambridge has never brought this out in paper: it would be a surefire hit.
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