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Reed, Paul (1956-2002)  
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Reed also collected his reflections on sex writing, which were published posthumously as Swollen: Writings on Sex (2002).

Reed's Nonfiction

Reed also produced several volumes of nonfiction, in addition to his journal writing. He co-authored, with Patti Breitman and Kim Knutson, How to Persuade Your Lover to Use a Condom and Why You Should (1987), and he produced two editions of Serenity: Challenging the Fear of AIDS (1987, rev. ed. 1990), which offers hope as an antidote to fear during the Age of AIDS.

Reed also wrote the humorous Cats Are from Jupiter, Dogs Are from Pluto: A Communication Guide for Humans (1994).

Reed's nonfiction work appeared in venues as various as Black Sheets, San Francisco Chronicle, The Advocate, Bay Area Reporter, University Journal, and The Writer.

Reed also contributed to the theory of AIDS writing with his short yet insightful essay "Early AIDS Fiction," which was collected in Judith Pastore's Confronting AIDS through Literature: The Responsibilities of Representation (1993).


Reed wrote in several genres, but almost everything he wrote is touched by the great crisis of his cultural moment: the AIDS epidemic. His critical reputation is based primarily on Facing It, which has been widely acknowledged as a pioneering AIDS novel. He has been credited for his depth of knowledge regarding the epidemic and for his sensitivity and insight into the spiritual and emotional toll it exacts from persons living with AIDS, as well as from their formal and informal caregivers.

Perhaps the most important contribution of Facing It is that it may have initiated a new thread of realism. Four years before Susan Sontag revisited her Illness as Metaphor to write AIDS and Its Metaphors (1988) to remind us of the risk in metaphorizing illness, Reed may well have crafted an AIDS medical realism.

Mark John Isola

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literature >> Overview:  AIDS Literature

In the twenty years since its first appearance in the West, AIDS has been the subject of a large body of literature, most of it written by gay men and much of it designed to expose readers as closely as possible to the emergency of the epidemic and the suffering of affected individuals.

literature >> Overview:  American Literature: Gay Male, Post-Stonewall

After Stonewall, gay male literature became focused as a movement, aided by the development of gay newspapers, magazines, and quarterlies and the founding of serious gay and lesbian bookstores.

literature >> Overview:  Autobiography, Gay Male

In its first century of existence, gay male autobiography has become increasingly more open, frank, and unapologetic.

literature >> Overview:  Erotica and Pornography

Erotic and pornographic works have been written in many cultures since ancient times and recently have flourished with the relaxation of censorship.

social sciences >> Overview:  San Francisco

San Francisco has enjoyed a reputation as a "gay mecca" since World War II.

literature >> Holleran, Andrew

The pseudonymous Andrew Holleran has placed his homosexuality at the center of his commercially and critically successful novels.

literature >> Nin, Anaïs

The bisexual novelist Anaïs Nin is best known for her sexually frank diaries and the erotica published after her death.

literature >> Preston, John

One of the most prolific gay writers of recent decades, John Preston helped elevate pornographic fiction into a genre viewed as having literary merit.

literature >> Sarton, May

May Sarton, who gradually revealed her lesbianism in her writing, worked successfully in poetry, the novel, essays, and the journal.


Holleran, Andrew. "Blood Work: The Q Journal." Christopher Street 14.2 (June 1991): 6-8.

_____. "Dreams of Dead Lovers." The Gay and Lesbian Review 9.4 (July-August 2002): 36-37.

McGovern, Terrence. "Paul Reed." Contemporary Gay American Novelists: a Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook. Emmanuel Nelson, ed. Westport: Greenwood, 1993. 352-58.

"Paul Reed." Contemporary Authors Online (July 31, 2002):

Sontag, Susan. Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors. New York: Anchor, 1989.


    Citation Information
    Author: Isola, Mark John  
    Entry Title: Reed, Paul  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2007  
    Date Last Updated March 29, 2014  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2007 glbtq, Inc.  


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