- Paperback: 218 pages
- Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (February 20, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1560234148
- ISBN-13: 978-1560234142
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #726,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lost Gay Novels: A Reference Guide to Fifty Works from the First Half of the Twentieth Century 1st Edition
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This book fills in a vital gap in our overview of gay literature of the period, and in the way it reflects attitudes, is a measure of how far things have moved on. It's also a reminder of how deep-seated prejudice can be, and of how the battle against homophobia is still far from won even in places where lawmakers have gone all-out to try and put gay people on the same footing as everyone else. The situation is still far from utopian, even without looking at other countries where basic rights are still denied. Added to that, it is compellingly interesting, and covers the ground in a parallel manner to Vito Russo's much more widely known study of the same area in cinema, The Celluloid Closet.
As for his research skills: Slide can write in his preface (p.4) that there must have been a gay editor at Greenberg Publishers "but his name is not recorded." It obviously did not occur to Slade to look at the Greenberg Publishers archive at the Columbia University Library, where the name of that editor (Brandt Aymar) is apparent to anyone who cares to look. Slide can devote a chapter to Myron Brinig's novel, This Man is My Brother, without even mentioning that Brinig wrote another fascinating gay novel, The Flutter of an Eyelid. Slide can devote a chapter to the novel All Things Human by "Stuart Benton," (pseudonym of George Sylvester Viereck), without any mention of Viereck's extraordinary gay novel The House of the Vampire (1907). That novel receives extensive discussion in James Gifford's study, Dayneford's Library: American Homosexual Writing, 1900-1913 (Univ. of Mass. Press, 1995), and so one must conclude that Slade didn't read Gifford's book -- an odd omission given that Slide's own book bills itself as a "reference guide to fifty works from the first half of the twentieth century."
In short, while it was certainly a worthy effort to try to bring these novels to greater public attention, it would have been better left to someone with a better understanding of gay literary history, better research skills, and a greater willingness to be engaged by these novels.