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Long before the rise of the modern gay movement, an unnoticed literary revolution was occurring, mostly between the covers of the cheaply produced pulp paperbacks of the post-World War II era. Cultural critic Michael Bronski collects a sampling of these now little-known gay erotic writings—some by writers long forgotten, some never known and a few now famous. Through them, Bronski challenges many long-held views of American postwar fiction and the rise of gay literature, as well as of the culture at large.
Michael Bronski is the author of Culture Clash: The Making of Gay Sensibility and The Pleasure Principle: Sex, Backlash, and the Struggle for Gay Freedom. He has edited and contributed to many anthologies, has had essays published throughout the world, and teaches and lectures widely. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
"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