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Russell, Paul (b. 1956)  
page: 1  2  

The Coming Storm won the 2000 Ferro-Grumley Award for Gay Male Fiction.

In his most recent work, War Against the Animals (2003), Russell explores the issues of class, community allegiances, and the divide between gay and straight culture. The novel is set in a small town in upstate New York, where tensions are rising between the working class locals, many of whose families have lived in the community for six generations, and newer residents--predominantly upper-class, and gay--who have begun moving in.

In homage to Henry James's The Wings of the Dove (1902), which Russell avows has a perfect plot, War Against the Animals revolves around Cameron Barnes, an HIV-positive, middle-aged, retired landscape architect who has recently migrated from Manhattan, and Jesse Vanderhof, a 19-year-old local who, under the somewhat sinister influence of his older brother, gets involved in a scheme to take financial advantage of the older gay man.

The scheme unravels, however, when Jesse unexpectedly finds himself attracted, both emotionally and sexually, to Cameron. Jesse begins to view his burgeoning homosexuality as a paralyzing form of destiny: "like when their dog Apache had run in front of a car, and he'd watched it from the front porch, helpless to stop it from happening."

Russell is also the author of The Gay 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Gay Men and Lesbians, Past and Present (1994). The book contains short biographies of such luminaries as Socrates, Sappho, Oscar Wilde, and Gertrude Stein, among others.

In his introduction, Russell explains the premise of the book: "One of the ways by which gay men and lesbians have survived through the centuries is by recognizing one another in the various disguises we have worn. We have survived on the consolation of knowing there are others like ourselves. . . . The men and women whose names were secretly whispered, repeated, cherished as homosexual helped create and sustain that amorphous phenomenon we know today as gay culture."

Recent short fiction and essays by Russell include "Underwater," published in Clifford Chase's Queer Thirteen: Lesbians and Gay Writers Recall Seventh Grade (1998); "The Golden Book of the Civil War," in Matthew Rottnek's Sissies and Tomboys: Gender Nonconformity and Homosexual Childhood (1999); "White Lily," in James White Review (Spring 1999); and "Delicacy," in Gastronomica (February 2001).

Russell is a Professor in the English Department at Vassar College where he has taught several gay and lesbian studies courses, including "Minority Culture in America: The Gay Experience," "The Gay Male Novel in America, post-1945," and "Queer Alphabets," a freshman-only course that features readings in gay and lesbian literature.

He lives in Rosendale, in upstate New York.

Craig Kaczorowski

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Bawer, Bruce. "Thirtysomething and Having a Rough Time." Wall Street Journal (April 19, 1990): A.12.

Canning, Richard. Hear Us Out: Conversations with Gay Novelists. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.

Drabelle, Dennis. "Private Lessons." The Washington Post (August 15, 1999): 07.

_____. "Three Men and a Pickup." The Advocate (September 2, 2003): 63.

Mackle, Elliott. "Setting Traps." Lambda Book Report (October/November 2003): 17.


    Citation Information
    Author: Kaczorowski, Craig  
    Entry Title: Russell, Paul  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2005  
    Date Last Updated March 9, 2005  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2005, glbtq, inc.  


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