Cover image for Gay lives
Gay lives
Publication Information:
New York : Thames & Hudson, c2012.
Physical Description:
304 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 24 cm.
Ancient ancestors: Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum ; David and Jonathan ; Sappho ; Socrates ; Hadrian and Antinous ; Chen Weisong -- From the middle ages to the enlightenment: Saints Sergius and Bacchus ; Aelred of Rievaulx ; Michelangelo Buonarroti ; Michel de Montaigne ; Antonio Rocco ; Benedetta Carlini ; Michael Sweerts ; Katherine Philips ; Frederick the Great ; Chevalier d'Eon -- Founding fathers and mothers: Walt Whitman ; Edward Carpenter ; André Gide ; E.M. Forster ; Radclyffe Hall ; Christopher Isherwood -- The fin-de-siècle and Belle Époque: Maximilian von Schwartzkoppen and Alessandro Panizzardi ; Oscar Wilde ; Wilhelm von Gloeden ; Sergei Diaghilev ; Jacques d'Adelswärd-Fersen ; Karol Szymanowski -- Women who loved women: Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby ; Anne Lister ; Eva Gore-Booth ; Sylvia Townsend Warner ; Claude Cahun ; Suzy Solidor ; Annemarie Schwarzenbach ; Carson McCullers -- Entanglements of sex and politics: Richard Schultz ; Federico García Lorca ; Newton Arvin ; Lilly Wust and Felice Schragenheim -- Visions of male beauty: Eugène Jansson ; Magnus Enckell ; Donald Friend ; Alair Gomes ; Bhupen Khakhar -- Love in the Levant: Abu Nuwas ; Constantine Cavafy ; T.E. Lawrence ; Yannis Tsarouchis ; Ali al-Jabri -- Japonisme: Ihara Saikaku ; Nobuko Yoshiya ; William Plomer ; Yukio Mishima ; Tamotsu Yato -- Diverse callings: John Henry Newman ; Rosa Bonheur ; Hubert Lyautey ; Frieda Belinfante ; Ronnie Kray ; Yves Saint Laurent -- Radicals and activists: Magnus Hirschfeld ; Del Martin ; Harvey Milk ; Guy Hocquenghem ; Simon Nkoli -- International lives in the modern era: Maharaja of Chhatarpur ; Edmund Backhouse ; Claude McKay ; Lionel Wendt ; Xuan Dieu ; Jean Sénac ; Shi Pei Pu ; Reinaldo Arenas.
"A comprehensive biographical survey from ancient Chinese courtiers to pioneers of gay liberation in the twenty-first century, from the unknowable relationships of the distant past to the frankest affirmations of modern sexual identity"--Publisher description.


Material Type
Shelf Number
Book HQ75.2.A53 2012 1

On Order



A comprehensive biographical survey from ancient Chinese courtiers to pioneers of gay liberation in the twenty-first century, from the unknowable relationships of the distant past to the frankest affirmations of modern sexual identity.

The exploits of the famous never cease to captivate our imaginations--rulers, artists, explorers, and all the great personalities of history. Yet many quieter lives also have the ability to impress, to teach us something about the remarkable qualities of human nature.

In this book, Robert Aldrich presents a fascinating portrait of gay men and women throughout history that reveals the full diversity of gay lives as lived in their times. He gives a voice to more than seventy people from around the world and all walks of life, from poets, philosophers, and artists to radicals and activists. Along with celebrated names such as Michelangelo, Frederick the Great, and Harvey Milk are lesser-known but no less inspiring individuals: two men of ancient Egypt whose lives were closely linked over four thousand years ago; a Renaissance nun who blurred the boundaries between spiritual and physical love; and "Aimée" and "Jaguar," whose love defied the death camps of wartime Germany.

Often colorful, occasionally tragic, but all in some way extraordinary, these life stories reflect--and have sometimes helped to shape--contemporary attitudes toward same-sex intimacy.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

More than 80 people prominent in gay culture are profiled here, from historical figures such as Michelangelo to contemporary personalities like Harvey Milk and Carson McCullers. Special care was taken to include people from outside of Europe and the U.S. Lesser-known individuals make up the bulk of the work, which includes portrait photographs and illustrations to accompany the brief narratives. At times, the entries have a gossipy feel, and the sources seem lacking, but, that aside, this would make a fine accompaniment to more serious research on the individuals. An accessible choice for LGBT collections in academic and public libraries.--Vnuk, Rebecca Copyright 2010 Booklist

Choice Review

Aldrich (European history, Univ. of Sydney, Australia) has written a wonderful book. From the outside, it looks like a series of brief biographies of gay men and women from throughout history and across the planet. It features entries on the famous, e.g., Michelangelo and Harvey Milk, and on those less well known. The entries are much more than brief biographies. While outlining the actual lives of those concerned, the articles seem to capture the essence of a person and the era, culture, or society that person embodies. Rather than being read straight through, this book is meant to be dipped into--by reading first one vignette and then another. Many of the people portrayed lived at times when concepts such as straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered had not been formed. Yet somehow, their stories all reflect an attitude, a spirit. Though sex, sexuality, and sexual orientation were not the main basis for their lives, these factors shaped other aspects of their stories, including those periods spent in intrigues. This lavishly illustrated, praiseworthy book deserves to be widely read. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers; general readers. S. J. Stillwell Jr. University of Arizona

Library Journal Review

Aldrich (European history, Univ. of Sydney; Colonialism and Homosexuality) continues his examination of LGBTQ history with this handsomely illustrated and elegantly written collection of 74 biographical sketches of men and women from ancient and biblical times to the recent past. The biographies are grouped thematically, stressing the historical, geographical, and social contexts of each individual or couple and how these factors informed the subjects' attitudes toward their sexuality. The usual suspects are covered (Sappho, Michelangelo, Oscar Wilde, Harvey Milk), but the majority of men and women here will likely be unfamiliar to general readers. The author's style is nicely poised between scholarly and popular, and his take on sex is frank without being prurient. VERDICT These brief essays can perforce only skim the surface of some fascinating lives, and Aldrich doesn't quite achieve the universality and diversity he strives for: there is a distinct bias toward gay males from Western civilization and/or the arts. Still, this volume is recommended to general readers, especially young people who are coming out and in search of role models or a primer on the individuals who shaped LGBTQ history, and as a stimulant for further research.-Richard J. Violette, Greater Victoria P.L., B.C. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.