By James Gifford
The trendy gay is frequently visible as having emerged totally shaped out of the Oscar Wilde trials. This paintings disputes one of these view, providing photographs of homosexuality in early 20th-century American literature and trying to identify the meanings of homosexuality as then understood by way of homosexuals.
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Extra info for Dayneford's library: American homosexual writing, 1900-1913
Such attractions were, after all, a mere exaggeration of friendship, fraternal feelings taken to more sublime heights. If post-Darwinian scientists would not yet allow Nature to contain the homosexual within her boundaries, perhaps she might yet be transcended. The Natural model for sexual otherness viewed homosexuality as an extension or apotheosis of the Natural Brotherhood of Man. , the John Addington Symonds/Walter Pater tradition which idealized Hellenic/homosexual friendships2although in Forster's novel Maurice's professor lashes out at "the unspeakable vice of the Greeks''), such feelings of deep friendshipif purged of sexualitycould be read as something noble and transcendent.
Page 13 landscape of freedom away from the pressures of the civilized world, where men could live with men and be free of constraints. Romantic friendships, idealized in the age of brotherhood, were often a step away from a deeper kind of love. " Homosexuality might be the invisible towage of such close male bonding; and as gay people became more visible in the 189os, homosexual panic inevitably cast such friendships under suspicion (Dellamora 196). In The Intersexes (1908) Stevenson warns his readers that boys' friendships of "too sentimental a warmth" often reveal "early Uranistic nature" (171), citing two of his own boys' books as examples (367).
Glances, body posture, artful juxtapositions seem to send an unmistakable male-wants-male messageand the phenomenon of Leyendecker's popularity is more singular still, at the thought of such a cool transposition of the Wildean aesthete into the average American home! This American dandy was shown reading books, attending plays, awhirl in upper-class activity. Even as an athlete, the unmistakable soupçon of the distanced aristocrat remained. The Arrow Collar Man and all he represents appear, for example, in Paul Clitheroe, the debonair hero of Charles Warren Stoddard's For the Pleasure of His Company, the many Henry James bachelor-heroes, and most pointedly in the literary reminiscence of the 1890s Harvard clique of Oscar Wilde imitators, The Cult of the Purple Rose.
Dayneford's library: American homosexual writing, 1900-1913 by James Gifford