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18 August 1983
Homosexuality in Renaissance England 
by Alan Bray.
Gay Men’s Press, 149 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 907040 16 0
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Comic Women, Tragic Men: A Study of Gender and Genre in Shakespeare 
by Linda Bamber.
Stanford, 211 pp., $18.50, June 1982, 0 8047 1126 7
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Still Harping on Daughters: Women and Drama in the Age of Shakespeare 
by Lisa Jardine.
Harvester, 202 pp., £18.95, June 1983, 0 7108 0436 9
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... close to the wind in this passage, and indeed in Edward II as a whole. Even allowing, as Alan Bray scrupulously does in Homosexuality in Renaissance England, for an element of exaggeration and possible misrepresentation in the famous ‘Baines note’, in which the dramatist is reported as saying that Christ enjoyed carnal relations with ...

Mr and Mr and Mrs and Mrs

James Davidson: Why would a guy want to marry a guy?

2 June 2005
The Friend 
by Alan Bray.
Chicago, 380 pp., £28, September 2003, 0 226 07180 4
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... title, its brass-rubbings and its frequent dippings into the nitty-gritty of Christian rites, Alan Bray’s last book, The Friend, might not seem terribly exciting at first glance. And yet it is written in part as a defence of John Boswell’s Marriage of Likeness: Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe, which came out a decade ago, and in part as ...

Brother-Making

James Davidson

8 February 1996
The Marriage of Likeness: Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe 
by John Boswell.
Fontana, 412 pp., £8.99, January 1996, 0 00 686326 4
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... elucidated in some excellent recent work by critics and historians of sexuality, in particular Alan Bray and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. Boswell had little time for such sophistication, but it seems highly relevant to any understanding of adelphopoiesis. The most striking feature of ‘made brothers’ is not their assimilation to the married couple, but ...

Pal o’ Me Heart

David Halperin: Jamie O’Neill

22 May 2003
At Swim, Two Boys 
by Jamie O'Neill.
Scribner, 572 pp., £6.99, July 2002, 0 7432 0714 9
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... may be, At Swim, Two Boys is arguably the most important work of gay male historical fiction since Alan Hollinghurst’s The Swimming-Pool Library. Much of the best gay male writing in English during the past fifteen years, on both sides of the Atlantic, has been preoccupied with historical themes. O’Neill’s novel deserves to be read alongside ...

Cut-Ups

Robert Crawford

7 December 1989
Perduta Gente 
by Peter Reading.
Secker, £5, June 1989, 0 436 40999 2
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Letting in the rumour 
by Gillian Clarke.
Carcanet, 79 pp., £4.95, July 1989, 9780856357572
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Lazy Thoughts of a Lazy Woman 
by Grace Nichols.
Virago, 58 pp., £4.99, July 1989, 1 85381 076 2
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Studying Grosz on the Bus 
by John Lucas.
Peterloo, 64 pp., £4.95, August 1989, 1 871471 02 8
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The Old Noise of Truth 
by Joan Downar.
Peterloo, 63 pp., £4.95, August 1989, 1 871471 03 6
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... take comfort from the fact that the selection of poems in Essential Reading (1986) is edited by Alan Jenkins of the TLS. And that book contains a few examples of what are (in part at least) knowing winks: after describing a catalogue of sufferings in C, Reading concludes that ‘this, rendered in catalectic tetrameters, might do for the TLS or other ...

Bonkers about Boys

James Davidson: Alexander the Great

1 November 2001
Alexander the Great in Fact and Fiction 
edited by A.B. Bosworth and E.J. Baynham.
Oxford, 370 pp., £35, September 2000, 0 19 815287 6
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... is remarkably similar to the relationship between his courtiers and James I, recently analysed by Alan Bray and Michel Rey in an article on ‘The Body of the Friend’, except that in the case of Macedonia the ‘gift of the body’ did not preclude the gift of sex. Holding a near monopoly on intimate relations with the royal personage, they had a near ...

Under-the-Table-Talk

Christopher Tayler: Beckett’s Letters

19 March 2015
Letters of Samuel Beckett: 1957-65 
by George Craig, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Dan Gunn and Lois More Overbeck.
Cambridge, 771 pp., £30, September 2014, 978 0 521 86795 5
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... for the Third Programme. McWhinnie agreed and passed the material on to Barbara Bray, the producer of All That Fall, who got to work on the translation I’ve just quoted. Beckett was still commending Le Square the following spring as he finished Krapp’s Last Tape, of which he wrote years later: ‘A woman’s tone goes through the entire ...

Monsieur Montaillou

Rosalind Mitchison

7 August 1980
The Territory of the Historian 
by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, translated by Sian Ben.
Harvester, 346 pp., £12.50, May 1979, 0 85527 565 0
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Montaillou 
by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, translated by Barbara Bray.
Penguin, 382 pp., £2.50, May 1980, 0 14 005471 5
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Carnival: a People’s Uprising in Romans, 1579-1580 
by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, translated by Mary Feeney.
Scolar, 426 pp., £12.50, May 1980, 0 85967 591 2
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... these peasants any different from the English peasantry of this age whose individualism has made Alan Macfarlane question the genuineness of their peasant status in his recent Origins of English Individualism? What is the relationship between the incipient Protestantism of many of the opinions here recorded – the scorn for the Catholic priesthood and for ...
21 May 2014
... to Bernard Tapie, a well-known crook with a prison record, latterly a friend of Sarkozy. Nonchalant adjacency to crime is bipartisan. François Hollande, current president of the Republic, sat pillion to trysts with his mistress in the flat of a moll of a Corsican gangster killed in a shoot-out on the island last year. In Britain, at about the same ...

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