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literature

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-B  C-E  F-L  M-Z

     
Erotica and Pornography  
 
page: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  

Only the first of these matches the power of The Asbestos Diary, although they are all well written and amusing. Shakespeare's Boy is Dukahz's only attempt at traditional narrative.

The Loon trilogy by Richard Amory (fl. 1966-1974) consisting of Song of the Loon (1966), Song of Aaron (1967), and Listen, the Loon Sings (1968), inaugurates a stream of romanticism in gay male erotic fiction by uniting the rugged men-only adventure tale of Zane Grey (1872-1939) and explicit gay sexuality. Indeed Amory's books celebrate gay male sexuality as a solution to racial tensions as his cowboys and Indians happily get it on with one another.

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The books were so popular that there was even a 1969 soft-core film adaptation marketed to a more general audience than other gay erotic films of the time. Michael Perkins attributes equally to the lyricism of the Loon trilogy and to the campiness of the nonfiction work The Homosexual Handbook (1968) by Angelo d'Arcangelo (fl. 1968-1969) the breaking of the tradition of expiation through guilt that began with Teleny.

Michael Bronski credits the 1967 Gay Whore by Jack Love (fl. 1967), but it was far less widely read than the other books in its day and has even evaded the bibliographer Ian Young.

Yet, whoever was responsible, a mood of change was clearly already in the air in the late 1960s, a mood that culminated in the Stonewall Riots.

What Genet, Dukahz, Amory, and even Rechy have in common in distinction from Victorian pornographers is that they redefine the duality of writers for whom gay sex and sex in general occur in a secret, stigmatized underground culture. Instead, each of these writers creates what is effectively a parallel universe in which gay sexuality is a perfectly natural state of affairs not answerable to mainstream society. And many lesser writers of this period adopt the same premise.

Several other writers who began working in this period are important historically because their later careers tell us something fundamental about changing public attitudes. Phil Andros, author of such books as Stud (1966) and San Francisco Hustler (1971), has since emerged as the gay mystery novelist Samuel Steward (b. 1909).

The Steward novels create a wonderful sense of completeness in a world (Paris in the 1920s) in which gay sexuality is a natural and expected element of life. They are also amusing.

But in the works he wrote as Andros, Steward is both more controlled as a stylist and more circumscribed in his picture of the world, probably because the world was a different place when he began writing these, a place in which gay sexuality was at ease only as liberating fantasy.

His careful craftsmanship in this early work undoubtedly prepared Steward for his later career, and his current fame has led to the reprinting of the early material for a wider audience. Later Andros works include Greek Ways (1975).

Although the books published under his own name do not include explicit sexual descriptions, Steward has argued for the legitimacy of pornography in Chapters from an Autobiography (1981) and described it simply as the straightforward way of writing about sex.

Similarly, James Colton, author of such works as Lost on Twilight Road (1964) and Tongue and Cheek (1969), is now the mystery writer Joseph Hansen (b. 1923). The mainstream books depict a gay detective working in a real world (this time the contemporary one) in which his sexual identity is something taken for granted, but as with Steward, these books are no longer explicit.

During his lifetime, Robin Maugham (1916-1981) had also revealed himself as the author of pornography, the 1967 David Griffin novel The Wrong People.

Post-Stonewall Literatures

The rich development of lesbian and gay male literature of all kinds in the period since the Stonewall Riots is a phenomenon of our times. So much material is published that The Lambda Book Report, a review magazine devoted to gay books, can hardly keep up.

Although there are still small publishers issuing poorly written, badly edited pulp novels (in fact, the quality of these has actually declined), in this climate of openness, more and more quality small presses are issuing well-written homoerotica.

An important theorist of the new eroticism is Marco Vassi (1937-1989), who proposes in both essays and fiction a "fusion of mind and sex organs" in "metasexuality," arguing that "there is no real difference between what two men do in bed [and] what three women . . . do [or] a man and a woman."

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