Category Archives: GLBT non-fiction

New From Bruno Gmunder— Coming in March

New From Bruno Gmunder

Coming in March

The international travel guide for gay and bisexual men: the Spartacus International Gay Guide, now in its 46 year, offers tourists not only a worldwide list of bars, hotels, saunas, beaches and self-help groups but also provides an overview of the applicable laws on homosexuality around the world.

The Spartacus International Gay Guide 2017 is published by the Bruno Gmünder publishers and offers on 980 pages around 21,000 useful listings: from bars and hotels as well as saunas to trendy shops in over 135 countries. All the tips, where gay and bisexual men can feel at home on their travels are researched and updated.

Once again at the beginning of this year’s travel and holiday season all of the listed hotels, guest houses, resorts and other accommodation possibilities have been newly researched. More than 900 accommodations in 85 countries came under close scrutiny.

The guide provides extensive information and is richly illustrated. In addition the proven and acclaimed pictogram system helps the reader quickly find information with ease. The bilingual guide is popular world-wide and combines concise information texts with sophisticated colour photography. Each entry contains information on prices, opening and season times as well as full address and contact information. This makes the Hotel Guide near to unrivalled.


Beautiful, sensual, and emotional: David Vance’s newest large-scale photography book Emotion – Photographs by David Vance is an homage to the male physique in all its beauty and sensitivity.


Bodies, sweat, and a look in the eye: strength, courage, and doubt. Right away, Piero Pompili’s visual and emotional alphabet indicates an œuvre characterized by images of captivating intensity. For fifteen years, the artist has been passionately photographing the world of boxing, frequenting the gyms and practice rings of the borgata in Rome or Naples.

My Brother and His Brother tells the story of 18 year-old Jonas, who throughout his teenage years has been trying to find out about Paul, the brother who died before he was born. Eventually, Jonas discovers that Paul had an intense love aff air with another boy during the last year of his life. His search for truth is related like a mystery where there are loose ends, clues and cliff hangers. A love story that continues.


“The Bloomsbury Reader in Religion, Sexuality, and Gender” edited by Donald L. Boisvert and Carly Daniel-Hughes—The Interaction and Influence of Religion, Sexuality and Gender

Boisvert, Donald L. and Carly Daniel-Hughes, editors. “The Bloomsbury Reader in Religion, Sexuality, and Gender”, Bloomsbury, 2017.

The Interaction and Influence of Religion, Sexuality and Gender

Amos Lassen

I have hoped to see a book on religion, sexuality and gender for a long time now and here it is, totally living up to all of my hopes and expectations. It is made up of the key texts in the field and looks at how religion, gender and sexuality interact and how they have impacted, and continue to impact, human culture. It was designed as a textbook for use in a classroom setting but that does not mean that individuals cannot gain a lot from it— it offers thought-provoking selections of some of the most compelling and timely readings available today.

Three are three parts to this volume— Bodies, Desires and Performances and each part thematically looks at the ways in which people have made sense of their religious and sexual experiences, the ways they imagine and talk about gender, sex and the sacred, and the multiple meanings they ascribe to them. Those traditions represented here include indigenous spiritualities, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Asian traditions and new religious movements. There are readings that are more theoretical or historical in nature and these give us wide-ranging contexts for reflection and discussion. Isn’t that what reading is all about?

There are extensive introductions to the book as a whole and to each of the three parts, as well as short paragraphs that contextualize each of the readings. These introductions are extremely helpful in providing context and orientating the reader to some of the broader questions and relevant issues. Each section includes discussion questions for classroom or discussion use; additional readings and resources and there is a glossary of key terms. It is the ideal book about religion and sexuality, religion and gender, or religion and contemporary culture.

The readings come from feminist, gender, and queer studies and we get an introduction to historical and contemporary conversations in these key areas within the study of religion. Dealing with the attitudes of different religious traditions toward sexuality and gender, we have a wonderful introduction and place to start off from. “Bodies” looks at the ambivalent ways in which they have been and are viewed; “Desires” looks at how they are expressed, repressed, and normalized in religious discourse; and “Performances,” which underscores the performative nature of gender and its inherent instability. The readings are all considered “classics”.

“SEX POWER FREEDOM” by Andrew Christian— A Coffee Table Book

Christian, Andrew. “Sex Power Freedom”, Andrew Christian, 2017.

A Coffee Table Book

Amos Lassen

Andrew Christian’s “Sex Power Freedom” comes out in two editions, silver and gold. The gold edition can only be obtained at a book-signing event after the official book signing tour launches in February 2017. Therefore I must contain myself to the silver edition. The book consists of 200 glossy pages of black and white photos that “push the limits of sexuality, create conversation, and stir quite a bit of controversy”. This book made up of just sexy photos. It explains that sex is power, emotion, creation, personal expression and political freedom.

Andrew Christian has said that he created this book to bring positive awareness about LGBT empowerment and how it relates to political freedom in the USA and around the world. This coffee table book features the Andrew Christian models as they push the limits of sexual desires and what that means for everyone in today’s modern society. The photos are sexy without being pornographic and have messages.

The book was made possible through a grassroots INDIEGOGO campaign, with more than $105,000 raised through 900 contributors with an average contribution of $100.

“Queering Classrooms: Personal Narratives and Educational Practices to Support LGBTQ Youth in Schools” edited by Erin A. Mikulec and Paul Chamness Miller— Preparing Teacher

Mikulec, Erin A. and Paul Chamness Miller, editors. “Queering Classrooms: Personal Narratives and Educational Practices to Support LGBTQ Youth in Schools”, (Research in Queer Studies)”, Information Age, 2016.

Preparing Teachers

Amos Lassen

Teacher Education programs have largely ignored the needs of LGBTIQ learners in their preparation of pre-service teachers. Up until now there has not been much written about teacher preparation in this area— usually there is a chapter in a book or a class discussion on the topic and this seems hardly enough. “Queering Classrooms” engages the reader in “a dialogue about why teacher education must address LGBTIQ issues more openly and why teacher education programs should revise their curriculum to more fully integrate the needs of LGBTIQ learners throughout their curriculum, rather than treat such issues as a single, isolated topic in an insignificant manner”. It includes personal narratives, research, and conceptual chapters as it examines the different ways in which LGBTIQ youth are present or invisible in schools, the struggles they face, and how teachers can be better prepared to reach them as they should teach any student, and to make them more visible. We gain insight into the needs of future teachers with the aim of bringing about change in how teacher education programs address LGBTIQ needs to better equip those entering the field of teaching.

“The Mary Daly Reader” by Mary Daly, edited by Jennifer Rycenga and Linda Barufaldi— Female and Alive

Daly, Mary. “The Mary Daly Reader”, edited by Jennifer Rycenga and Linda Barufaldi, NYU Press, 2017.

Female and Alive

Amos Lassen

I first heard of Mary Daly as an undergraduate when her name came up as we were reading Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”. Little did I know then how much Daly would influence the way I thought and I regarded what has come to be known as early feminist literature. Mary Daly has been referred to as

“outrageous, humorous, inflammatory, Amazonian, intellectual, provocative, controversial, and a discoverer of Feminist word-magic”. Her influence was great, especially on Second Wave feminism was enormous. She dared to speak openly about new ways of being female and alive. She formulated theories about “Bio-philia, Be-ing as Verb, and the life force within words” and she was controversial with what she had to say about race, transgender identity, and separatism. Most of her writings are here and with them are introductions to each selection for context.  

This is truly a comprehensive reader that wonderfully provides a vital introduction to the core of her work and the  complexities hidden away in the pages of her books. Not only are we very lucky to have so much Daly in one place, the editors have made it all accessible to a broad readership, without diluting Daly’s witty but complicated vocabulary. Work on this book began in collaboration with Daly while she was still alive and was completed after her death in 2010. I am sure that many will find surprises here and that is interesting because she had such a huge following that could quote her freely. The writings here have been selected from over a forty-year span contain highlights from Mary Daly’s published works including her major books “Beyond God the Father”, “Gyn/Ecology”, and “Pure Lust”, as well as smaller articles and excerpts. There are additional contributions from Robin Morgan and Mary E. Hunt.  

This is a perfect introduction to Mary Daly as well as a treasure for feminist thinkers who are already familiar with her work and want to access the essence of her thought in a single book. I missed having the chance to study with her here in Boston because I was out of the country for so long but every time I pass Boston College I am reminded of the stories we heard about her tenure there and this makes me admire her even more. Daly was a philosopher/theologian/ poet, and she used all of those tools to demolish patriarchy, refusing to believe that domination was a natural state of being. I would have loved to see her do that live. She had great expectations for women and she was totally committed to women.

groundbreaking work of a feminist philosopher whose expectations for women were only exceeded by her commitment to them. Her use of the English language was something amazing and she dared to publicly condemn what she felt were the evils of the world. For me she was transformative and when I was a graduate student taking a course in feminist literary criticism, my professor would stop when necessary and ask, “Amos, what does Mary Daly have to say about this?”

Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Robin Morgan

Biographical Sketch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mary E. Hunt

Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Editors’ Note . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Introduction: A Kick in the Imagination . . . . . . .

Jennifer Rycenga and Linda Barufaldi

PartI.WindsofChange(to1971). . . . .

  1. The Case against the Church. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  2. Christian History: A Record of Contradictions . . .
  3. The Pedestal Peddlars. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  4. The Second Sex and the Seeds of Transcendence . .

Part II. From God to Be-ing (1972–1974) .

  1. The Women’s Movement: An Exodus Community
  2. The Problem, the Purpose, the Method. . . . . . .
  3. After the Death of God the Father. . . . . . . . . . .
  4. Beyond Good and Evil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  5. The Second Coming of Women and the Antichrist .
  6. The Bonds of Freedom: Sisterhood as Antichurch. .
  7. Antichurch and the Sounds of Silence . . . . . . . .
  8. The Final Cause, the Future, and the End of the Looking Glass War . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. .

Part III. The Double-Edged Labrys of Outrageous/Outraged Philosophy (1975–1984)………………… 121

  1. Preface to Gyn/Ecology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  2. The Metapatriarchal Journey of Exorcism and Ecstasy . . .
  3. Secular S and M
  4. African Genital Mutilation: The Unspeakable Atrocities . .
  5. Prelude to the Third Passage . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  6. Newspeak versus New Words . . . . . . . . . . . .
  7. Sparking: The Fire of Female Friendship . . . . . .
  8. The Dissembly of Exorcism . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  9. Daly on Matilda Joslyn Gage . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  10. On Lust and the Lusty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  11. Metaphors of Metabeing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  12. Beyond the Sado-Sublime: Exorcising Archetypes, the Archimage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  13. Evoking . . . . .
  14. Restoration and the Problem of Memory . .
  15. Phallic Power of Absence. . . . . . . . . . .
  16. Realizing Reason . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  17. The Raging Race. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  18. From “Justice” to Nemesis . . . . . . . . . .
  19. The “Soul” as Metaphor for Telic Principle .
  20. Be-Friending: The Lust to Share Happiness

Part IV. Spiraling Onward (1985–2010): Future andPastPiraticalCoursing. . . . . . . . . .

  1. Early Moments: My Taboo-Breaking Quest—To Be
    a Philosopher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  2. The Dream of Green . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  3. The Anti-Modernist Oath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  4. My Doctoral Dissertation in Philosophy: Paradoxes . . . .
  5. The Time of the Tigers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319
  6. Re-Calling My Lesbian Identity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 324
  7. Some Be-Musing Moments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 327
  8. The Fathers’ Follies: Denial of Full Professorship . . . . . . . . 330
  9. Classroom Teaching of Women and of Men . . . . . . . . . . . 334
  10. On How I Jumped over the Moon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 337
  11. Magnetic Courage. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 344
  12. Quintessence: The Music of the Spheres . . . . . . . . . . . . . 352
  13. A Heightened Experience of Losing and Finding (Response

to Audre Lorde) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 355

  1. What Terrific Shock Will Be Shocking Enough?. . . . . . . . . 360

Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 371

Works by Mary Daly: A Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 415

Secondary Sources on Mary Daly. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 421

Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 435

AbouttheAuthor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 451

AbouttheEditors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 453

One-Man Show named a 2017 Stonewall Honor book by the American Library Association

One-Man Show named a 2017 Stonewall Honor book by the American Library Association

One-Man Show. The Life and Art of Bernard Perlin by Michael Schreiber and published by Bruno Gmünder has been named a 2017 Stonewall Honor book by the American Library Association in the Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award category.

In One-Man Show, Michael Schreiber chronicles the storied life, illustrious friends and lovers, and astounding escapades of Bernard Perlin through no holds barred interviews with the artist, candid excerpts from Perlin’s unpublished memoirs, never-before-seen photos, and an extensive selection of Bernard Perlin’s incredible public and private art.

Perlin was an extraordinary figure in 20th century American art and gay cultural history, an acclaimed artist and sexual renegade who reveled in pushing social, political, and artistic boundaries. His work regularly appeared in popular magazines of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s; was collected by Rockefellers, Whitneys, and Astors; and was acquired by major museums, including the Smithsonian, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Tate Modern.

The Stonewall Book Awards recognize works of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience. It is an official award of the American Library Association (ALA) granted under the auspices of the GLBT Round Table and was first awarded in 1971.

The ALA is the oldest and largest library association in the world with ca. 57.000 members. Its mission is to uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.

The awards will be presented on June 26, 2017 in Chicago.

“Somebody to Love: The Life, Death and Legacy of Freddie Mercury” by Matt Richards and Mark Langthorne— The Final Years

Richards, Matt and Langthorne, Mark. “Somebody to Love: The Life, Death and Legacy of Freddie Mercury”, Weldon Owen 2016.

The Final Years

Amos Lassen

We have had books about Freddie Mercury and we have all heard stories but now for the first time, we read of the final years of one of the world’s most captivating rock singers. It is made up of interviews from Freddie Mercury’s closest friends in the last years of his life, personal photographs and commentary and together they give us the authoritative biography of the great man. We learn some previously unknown and surprising facts about Mercury and his life especially about his lifelong search for love and personal fulfillment, and of course his life with AIDS, the disease that eventually took him from us. his tragic contraction of a then killer disease in the mid-1980s. This is not just Freddie Mercury’s story—it is also the story about how HIV came into this world and did so much damage.

What I find so unique here is just as Mercury’s life is chronicled for us so is the history of AIDS. It is not that the two naturally go together but we are all aware of what the AIDS epidemic did to the world and how it robbed us of so much wonderful talent. When Mercury died, he not only shook the world of rock but the world of medicine as well.

There is something here for everyone even for those who think that they know the story of Freddie Mercury and Queen. The authors take issue with the paparazzi who tried uncover all the dirty celebrity laundry and therefore present a version of Mercury that until now was unknown to most. We read of the evolution and rise of Mercury as a person (as opposed to as a rock idol) and as an idol once he understood what the ramifications of AIDS was having on his life. He did not let the disease stop his creativity and he continued on. Even as he was suffering, he and his band were considered past their prime but he did not let that stop him. I cannot help thinking about the Live Aid concert in 1985 when Mercury and Queen outshone other groups and Mercury became regarded as one of the greatest front man of all time”.

Before you begin reading let me advise you to clear your day— this is such an engrossing read. It is heartfelt, moving and beautifully written. It is as if we are taken into Freddie Mercury’s mind and heart. There are sections that will leave you emotionally drained especially when reading about his struggle with his sexuality and with AIDS. We also feel the writers’ love for their subject and there are just no words to really describe the effect that this book has had on me. I think that is only fair to say that I was not really a fan of Mercury but then neither was I a fan of rock and roll during that period. I was living out of the country and working hard and I was more concerned about the fruits of my labor than I was about the world of popular music. I honestly did not listen to it. Now, in retrospect, I realize jut how much I missed and it is books like this that I need to rely on to fill the holes in my knowledge.

I now see that Freddie Mercury was fascinating. He was also, it seems, self-destructive and he lived his life dangerously. Perhaps if he had found the love that he sought, it would have all been different. Most of us have wondered with great sadness as to when he was infected with the HIV virus. Knowing the risks concerning AIDS, we can only wonder why he did not have protected sex. He went downhill much too quickly and he will be missed forever.

“A Very English Scandal” by John Preston— The “Trial of the Century”

Preston, John. “A Very English Scandal”, Other Press, 2016.

The “Trial of the Century”

Amos Lassen

“A Very English Scandal” is a true crime account of the scandalous private life of Jeremy Thorpe, the British MP whose covert homosexual affair led to blackmail, cover ups, a hired hit man, and ended with what became known as the “Trial of the Century.”

Jeremy Thorpe was a Member of Parliament and Leader of the Liberal Party in the 1960s and 70s and his bad behavior snuck went undetected for years. Police and politicians alike colluded to protect one of their own. In 1970, Thorpe was the most popular and charismatic politician in the country and was prepared to hold the balance of power in a coalition government.

 What many did not know was that Jeremy Thorpe was a man with a secret. His homosexual affairs and harassment of past partners, along with his propensity for lying and embezzlement, only escalated as he evaded punishment. Then there was a dark night on the moor with an ex-lover, a dog, and a hired gun that led to consequences that even his charm and power couldn’t help him escape.

 When he went to court, his case became referred to as the “Trial of the Century,” since it was the first time at the Old Bailey in London that a leading British politician stood trial on a murder charge, and the first time that a murder plot had been hatched in the House of Commons. It also was the first time that a prominent public figure had been exposed as a philandering gay man in an era when homosexuality had only just become legal. This is a story of hypocrisy, deceit, and betrayal right at the heart of the British Establishment.

Of four men on trial for murder, one was Jeremy Thorpe, the retired head of Britain’s Liberal Party. Norman Scott and Jeremy Thorpe had had an affair some years earlier and Thorpe had promised to take care of Scott, but rather, took his National Insurance card and wouldn’t give it back. Scott found it difficult to find work without the card and while this does not make much sense, it nevertheless happened.

The Jeremy Thorpe scandal was juicy – the main characters were interesting and venality ran through the case from action to the eventual trial. Thorpe was a man who thought quite highly of himself and his position in Britain’s public life. However, it was in his private life that things got a bit messy. Jeremy would go in and out of the closet when he wanted. When he met Norman Scott, a young, sexy equestrian, he fell into desire. The two men had an off and on long affair. Thorpe would bring Scott back to him when the “off” periods went on too long. And this is where the National Insurance card came into play. For whatever reason, Thorpe kept the card, perhaps as a way of controlling Scott.

The other main player was another Liberal MP, Peter Bessell. Thorpe and Bessell were close friends, though Bessell was a womanizer. Jeremy Thorpe used Peter Bessell to get him out of problems, both in his public and private lives. Bessell was often charged with the care of Norman Scott, who for years, hung “around” wanting things, like his Insurance card. Both MPs also were involved in squeezing money from a Bahamian political donor to support the party and some other behind the scenes activities.

John Preston’s book is a fascinating look at the private lives led behind the public lives in Britain in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Norman Scott was a confused and weak-willed young man, a male model with no other marketable skills who was helpless in the face of authority. Peter Bessell was a lay preacher whose oratorical skills got him a seat in Parliament despite a continuing string of failed business ventures and a willingness to sleep with every attractive woman he meets. Jeremy Thorpe was a wealthy, self-indulgent aristocrat with the charisma and charm that carried him into a prominent role in Parliament despite his reckless habit of picking up young men for sex. All three men were incorrigible liars and when they came together, we had a scandal— a political scandal at the heart of the British Establishment.

Here is nonfiction, improbable though the story may seem. Thorpe faced off in court accused of conspiracy to murder and related crimes by the other two after having been one of the most prominent and popular politicians in Britain. He fantasized about reaching 10 Downing Street. But his downfall was spectacular which his own reprehensible behavior had long foretold.

Gay sex, lies and judicial misconduct come together in John Preston’s detailed book. It shares far more about the lives and crimes of the three men at the center of the story than any casual reader would ever want to read. He shares the horrific price gay men paid in Britain before homosexuality was decriminalized and he shares a jaw-dropping story of judicial misconduct at the heart of the English Establishment.

Preston gives us front row seats to the trial and he captures the homophobia of the age, the political machinations of the male-dominated Establishment, and the intricate web of lies and deceit, which became Thorpe’s lot in life. He also shows the oppressive nature of gender roles and heterosexist society during the fifties, sixties, and seventies in aristocratic England. Thorpe, by way of his ambition, narcissism and deception, left behind him a trail of broken lives in his wake, especially Norman Scott, who is persecuted relentlessly for his sexual “deviance” and his mental illness. Scott’s allegations were discredited everywhere. Found innocent of all charges, Thorpe still was vilified in the press and seen as a pariah to the Liberal cause. No one essentially accepted his innocence and, as such, his illustrious political career ended.

It is interesting thought that suffering from Parkinson’s disease in later life and attended to by his second wife Marion, Thorpe’s reputation enjoyed a resurgence before he died in 2014 at the age of 85. A later generation of party leaders praised his record as an internationalist, a supporter of human rights, and an opponent of racism. How quickly we forget!

Thorpe’s story is not an old one. It falls in line with American gay government scandals such as Larry Craig and James McGreevey to cite just two. In some ways the anger of this story has been forgotten by contemporary LGBT millennial readers who do not have to deal with blackmail, marriages of convenience, and criminal sodomy laws but we cannot allow ourselves to forget that homophobia caused deep and painful emotional wounds along with societal stigma that still remains to be documented by future historians and described by novelists. Preston has begun to do so sensitively and with scholarship.

“Queer Brown Voices: Personal Narratives of Latina/o LGBT Activism” edited by Urial Quesada, Letitia Gomez and Salvador Vidal-Ortiz— LGBT Latinos/as

Quesada, Uriel, Gomez, Letitia and Salvador Vidal-Ortiz (editors). “Queer Brown Voices: Personal Narratives of Latina/o LGBT Activism”, University of Texas Press, 2015.

LGBT Latinos/as

Amos Lassen

I don’t know how this book slipped past me but it is never too late to read something this is as relevant today as it was when it came out some two years ago. Over the last thirty years the LGBT Latino community has had to deal with various kinds of discrimination, something that should happen within a community that itself has suffered.

The greater Latino community traditionally has not often accepted sexual minorities, and the mainstream LGBT movement expected everyone, regardless of their ethnic and racial background, to behave and exist so that we could have a “unified” agenda. To deal with the sexism, racism, and homophobia that they experienced and continue to experience, LGBT Latinas/os organized themselves on local, state, and national levels by forming communities in which they could fight for equal rights while at the same time staying true to their ethnic and sexual identities. However the history of LGBT activism in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s has often reduced the role that the LGBT Latino community has played and the result has been misinformation and/or ignorance their work entirely thus writing a history without them.

“Queer Brown Voices” is the first book that was published to buck this trend and it documents the efforts of LGBT Latina/o activists. The volume is made up of essays and oral history interviews that give us the experiences of fourteen activists across the United States and in Puerto Rico, We gain a new perspective on the history of LGBT mobilization and activism as those included look at subjects that shed light not only on the organizations they helped to create and operate, but also on their experiences of being the object of racism and discriminated against. They have had to fight for access to health care during the HIV/AIDS epidemic, as well as struggle for awareness. We become very aware of what this community has had to deal with making this an important contribution to our canon. What we read is very powerful and is unavailable elsewhere and this needs to be shared.


“Unmaking Love: The Contemporary Novel and the Impossibility of Union” by Ashley T. Shelden— Revising How We See Love

Shelden, Ashley T. “Unmaking Love: The Contemporary Novel and the Impossibility of Union”, Columbia University Press, 2017.

Revising How We Conceive Love

Amos Lassen

Many of us learn of love by first reading about it and we see that the contemporary novel is where we find that. However, the conception of love found in these writings often makes it unrecognizable. We do not always get union, connection, and completion and often the modern novel destroys any chance of unity and it is often negative.

“Unmaking Love” looks at queerness in the novels of Ian McEwan, Zadie Smith, Hanif Kureshi, Alan Hollinghurst, and Hari Kunzru. We see that “queer love” becomes something more than shorthand for sexual identity. And it contains ruined expectations, unorganized organization, and many different forms. In queer love, social forms are changed, existing social structures are changed and there is no really binding. Using psychoanalysis, gender and sexuality studies with which to look at love in contemporary literature shows its relation to queer negativity.

Ashley T. Shelden shows that love is a fantasy and that even in unity, it deconstructs in twentieth and twenty-first century literature. There is ambivalence and danger in it and we once again see how difficult love can be. Shelden further shows that love without aggression is not love. Below is the table of contents:


Introduction: Unmaking Love

  1. Lesbian Fantasy: Psychoanalysis, the Legacy of Modernist Love, and Djuna Barnes’s Nightwood
  2. The Ends of Love: Amorous Redemption, the Passion for Negativity, James Joyce’s Ulysses, and Hanif Kureishi’s Intimacy
  3. Amorous Time: Nostalgia, Temporality, and the Pursuit of Optimism in Alan Hollinghurst’s The Line of Beauty
  4. Cosmopolitan Love: Encountering Difference in Hari Kunzru’s Transmission and Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled

Conclusion: Otherness, Cloud Atlas, and Contemporary Literature