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Outlaw Marriages: The Hidden Histories of Fifteen Extraordinary Same-Sex Couples Hardcover – May 15, 2012
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“The volume will have particular appeal to readers of gender studies, but these stories ultimately prove that true partnership is gender blind.”—Publishers Weekly
“A thoroughly interesting look at gay and lesbian love, life and relationships.”—EDGE
“Fifteen love marriages that dared not speak their name defied laws and mores, flouted conventions, and live today in Streitmatter’s essential, well-documented history.”—Booklist
“A nice gift for just the right couple.”—Kirkus Reviews
"An engaging and well-researched volume with broad appeal to the LGBTQ crowd (especially couples) as well as social historians."–Library Journal
"In Outlaw Marriages he distills a wealth of information down to a lively and effective series of double portraits.”—The Gay and Lesbian Review
“…Streitmatter expertly threads together the historical backgrounds and incredible courage of these couples… it’s a damn good bunch of stories told in a very approachable 160-ish pages.”—The Stranger
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
With the artists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, for example, I learned that Rauschenberg played a critical role in Johns painting his most recognized work. The two men were living together, and one morning Johns got up and said, just in passing, that he had a dream about painting the American flag. Johns was just saying this in a matter-of-fact way, sort of laughing at the idea. But Rauschenberg took it seriously. He said that maybe that idea had merit, so he encouraged Johns to go ahead and paint what he had seen himself painting in the dream. So then Johns did it. So, in reality, if Rauschenberg had not been there, Johns may never have painted one of modern art's most iconic works.
The same sort of scenario played out with other couples, too. If Alice B. Toklas had not been so determined to see that Gertrude Stein's works were published, they probably never would have been. And if Bessie Marbury had not encouraged Elsie de Wolfe to start charging people for decorating their homes, she never would have become America's first interior designer.
In the end, this book shows you how important a partner or a spouse or a husband or a wife can be--whether they are of different sexes or the same sex.
Obviously, none of them were married in the socially accepted meaning of the word. Many of the relationships were generally closeted, but in those instances some of their close friends were aware and accepting, if not supportive. One of the partners in all of them achieved such public stature that even the press - well knowing their same-sex attraction - would not publicly condemn them.
Still, these couples suffered some of the same injustices we see today. Some of their families could not accept their relationships. In some cases, their careers were hobbled by their same-sex attraction. In many cases, infidelity on the part of one or both partners led to the dissolution of their relationships, even after several decades. In almost every partnership, their relationships were completely ignored in published obituaries at their death.
These short biographies take neither an accepting nor condemning tone. They are well-researched, using letters between the partners and to their friends and published individual biographies as confirmed sources. They are well written, making this book a pleasure to read.
"Outlaw Marriages" mainly has couples in the arts. Streitmatter discusses Tennessee Williams (Tennessee Williams Film Collection (A Streetcar Named Desire 1951 Two-Disc Special Edition / Cat on a Hot Tin Roof 1958 Deluxe Edition / Sweet Bird of Youth / The Night of the Iguana / Baby Doll / The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone)), whose partner helped him stay sober&produce art. Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass) found his Muse in his longtime partner Peter Doyle. Gertrude Stein and her partner Alice B. Toklas (The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book) transformed art.... and cooking, with their fashionable Parisian salon. Stein wasn't only a poet, but helped fellow artists like Pablo Picasso. Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg changed modern painting/art/collage. Mercedes de Acosta tutored her lover Greta Garbo (...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an eminently readable look at 15 same sex couples from the past 150 years who, in various measures, managed to defy convention and live lives where same-sex love... Read morePublished 16 months ago by T. Burtch
Interesting, informative, and sensitively written. Highly recommend.Published 22 months ago by Terri L. Miller-Simms
A well researched and well written book. I found many of the stories to be about little known gay men and women which in my estimation, makes this book and invaluable contribution... Read morePublished on July 10, 2014 by Samantha Morse
Great historical start for anyone who is not aware that same-sex partnerships are not new to society. I was stunned at the years spent loving.Published on April 10, 2014 by VicsterC
Incredibly interesting view into the private lives of very accomplished persons. Written in an almost text book style. Quite an eye opener.Published on January 23, 2014 by CyndiB
Very informative and interesting. This book sheds a whole new light on an essential aspect of the lives of the individuals described.Published on December 6, 2013 by E.C.
The various short essays on famous gay and lesbian couples here are fun to read, and often their stories are touching. Read morePublished on November 2, 2013 by K. Clarke
This book comes just in time of the historical moment. It provides good background info about same sex relationship of important gay/lesbian figures.Published on October 3, 2013 by Tao Li