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Pulp Friction: Uncovering the Golden Age of Gay Male Pulps Paperback – January 14, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“I read through this book saying again and again, 'How did I miss this?' 'How did I manage not to know about this?'--a sign that Michael Bronski has done a necessary job and done it well. Rarely is a book so educational also such a delight. By leaving the hallowed precincts of the 'literary,' Bronski lends a continuity heretofore lacking in many of our pictures of the development of gay fiction from World War II on.” ―Samuel R. Delany, author of Times Square Red, Times Square Blue and The Motion of Light in Water
“Out of the shadows, into the sheets! Between the covers of gay pulp fiction, Michael Bronski finds forgotten treasures, presenting juicy excerpts and his own wise insights into this neglected bit of literary history.” ―Jonathan Ned Katz, author of Love Stories: Sex Between Men Before Homosexuality and Gay American History
“A wonderful book, a sexy, funny, looney-tune work of social history that rewrites the recent past. It's a celebration of the poetry of pulp as well as the truth of pulp. I cannot remember the last time I learned so much while having so much fun.” ―Christopher Bram, author of Father of Frankenstein and The Notorious Dr. August
“Noting research that included reading 'just over 225 novels,' cultural critic Bronski (The Pleasure Principle) delightfully chronicles gay pulp novels from their emergence in the late 1940s through the post-Stonewall era in this expansive, exhaustively researched amalgam of fiction and gay history. In the earliest novels, homosexual characters were often drawn as angst-ridden men living hideaway lives. These mild tales gave way to the more outrageous and sexually intrepid plot lines of the 1950s and early '60s as gay male pulps gained momentum--typical is a locker-room fantasy scene from Jay Little's Maybe--Tomorrow. As the 1960s progressed, fiction grew bolder in form and content. Richard Amory's lush The Song of the Loon was a landmark title, its literary aspirations plain, while other titles of the era--racy fictions like Jack Love's Gay Whore, a melodrama set on Fire Island, and the pseudonymous Memoirs of Jeff X--were willing to settle for being 'extraordinarily profitable.' The gay revolution unleashed by the Stonewall riots is boldly evident in excerpts by Marcus Miller (from Gay Revolution), and a selection from Bruce Benderson's 1975 erotic potboiler, Kyle. Prefacing each section with thoughtful background on the period, Bronski then steps back to let the generous novel excerpts speak for themselves. Bronski has searched thoroughly and thought-provokingly, and this book should pop up on required reading lists for gay studies courses (the extensive appendix is invaluable). This is obviously a labor of love, and an absolute must for gay historians and those interested in stimulating gay fiction from years gone by.” ―Publishers Weekly
Top Customer Reviews
Second, he offers an introductory essay bursting with insight & nuanced introductions to every piece (often with tantalizing information about the writers). At the back, perhaps most valuable of all, he puts together an annotated timeline of highlights of gay male literature 1940-1969 which discusses works by the writers included in the book as well as more literary work (Genet, Vidal, Baldwin, etc.). It's an essential resource for those looking for further reading.
The later pieces are often pornographic, campy and silly (very entertaining, occasionally dark or hard-core) while some of the earlier pieces are generally more thoughtful, even literary, though sometimes downbeat. Bronski's selections always emphasize what was exceptional or unique for the time. *None* of these pieces are routine. My personal favorites are "Sam," "Spur Piece," "Lost on Twilight Road," "The Boys of Muscle Beach," "Song of the Loon," and "Gay Revolution" (in which the world is turning gay, Body Snatcher-style). "Maybe--Tomorrow" is hilarious yet somehow brilliant. ("Muscle Beach" & "Gay Whore" are also hysterical.) My excitement about gay literature has been completely renewed.Read more ›
Bronski has chosen to cite only a few chapters from specific works to point out the pulp styles as they changed with the times. At first, I thought I would be put off by this, but instead, it has interested me enough to try to find copies of some of these works, many of which have not been in publication since the 1950s and 1960s. One selection of note is from "The Gay Haunt" by Victor Jay. Kind of a gay "Blithe Spirit," even the snippet that was included in this book had me laughing hysterically.
This is a fascinating read, most definitely worth your reading.
They provided a chance for inexperienced authors to prove themselves. The smaller firms didn't edit and the more explicit books were more profitable so there was a high turnover.
Some thought that they had a teaching function but were they purveying positive or negative images? Did there always have to be a tragic ending? `Novels are to be read for enjoyment or relaxation, not instruction...That is why you study from textbooks in school. The art of fiction is the art of reflection, not of shaping.'
Usually a lone person finds another lone person - a gay community is very recent. There was a gradual change from `inverts' or talk of women trapped in men's bodies, to psychology.
1930s saw fly-by-night publishers - the beginning of gay press. They used Mailing lists from sales of non fiction study but being on such a list was dangerous.
As early as the 1940s, respectable publishing houses wrote gay characters. There was a wartime idolisation of macho bodies: `he had never associated masculinity with abnormality until tonight.'
By the 1950s there were happy endings and moving in together.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Warning---this book made an obsessive pulp collector out of me. I've learned so much from this book, having now read it twice. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Clear Englebert
I expected more of a historical account with smaller excerpts, rather than an omnibus of lengthy quotations with only a terse and very fragmentary history of the genre. Read morePublished on February 24, 2014 by JIsaacs1962
This is an examination of gay pulp novels from the 1940s up to the 1970s. These were cheaply produced paperbacks written to appeal to the gay male audience. Read morePublished on May 6, 2012 by Wayne M. Malin
"Pulp fiction" like "B movies" has become an essentially meaningless term. "B movie" now means "bad movie" and "Pulp Fiction" means "dirty fiction. Read morePublished on May 31, 2011 by Christopher
May be not being aware of that, Michael Bromski, reiterates,in a way, by this anthology, the aim that theese "old pulps" intend to realize : "give a sight on a half-hidden world... Read morePublished on December 29, 2009 by french reader
"Pulp Friction" offers a broad review of gay male fiction from the 1920's to roughly the '80's. I was pleased to have my stereotypes of such fiction of that time completely... Read morePublished on September 25, 2009 by Charles F. Mielke