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Michael Mason

10 November 1988
Report of the Inquiry into Child Abuse in Cleveland 1987 
by Elizabeth Butler-Sloss.
HMSO, 336 pp., £14.50, July 1988, 0 10 104122 5
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When Salem came to the Boro 
by Stuart Bell.
Pan, 355 pp., £3.99, July 1988, 0 330 30503 4
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The Last Taboo 
by Gay Search.
Penguin, 192 pp., £3.99, August 1988, 0 14 011049 6
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Unofficial Secrets: Child Sexual Abuse – The Cleveland Case 
by Beatrix Campbell.
Virago, 226 pp., £4.50, September 1988, 0 86068 634 5
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... of word nowadays: we pride ourselves on our superiority to taboos, and the author of the book, Gay Search, certainly wants to expose the reality of sexual abuse. But should we be equally valiant against the taboo which forbids the activity itself? Why not, when we have disposed of so many other dusty old prohibitions? ...
4 August 1988
Freud: A Life for Our Time: A Life in Our Time 
by Peter Gay.
Dent, 810 pp., £16.95, May 1988, 0 460 04761 2
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... Professor Peter Gay is an eminent American cultural historian of German origin, an enthusiastic convert to Freudian doctrine, and an honorary member of the American Psychoanalytical Association – you can’t, as a warmly sympathetic biographer of Freud, do-better than that. The sheer amount of biographical, historical and psychoanalytical detail that has gone into the making of this Life is, as far as I can see, unparalleled in the literature of its subject; and so are the care and informed intelligence with which this stupendous mass of facts, conjectures and speculations has been sifted, as well as the attractive, good-humoured and unstrenuous way most of it has been presented ...


Peter Gay

5 January 1989
Jewish High Society in Old Regime Berlin 
by Deborah Hertz.
Yale, 299 pp., £22.50, June 1988, 0 300 03775 9
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... demonstrates that it was not just that these salons met the social needs of aristocrats in search of a place to meet or of local intellectuals thirsty for good talk; nor were they a Jewish conspiracy. The most interesting fact about them, as she justly notes, is that they were a triple anomaly. They were anomalous in a social structure more rigid than ...

Mid-Century Male

Christopher Glazek: Edmund White

19 July 2012
Jack Holmes and His Friend 
by Edmund White.
Bloomsbury, 390 pp., £18.99, January 2012, 978 1 4088 0579 4
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... touch with Jack, who has graduated from the desperation of the closet to the glamour of life as a gay high society tag-along. For a time, Will moves in with Jack as each tends to a much younger lover. Their experiment in inter-generational living falters, however, when the Aids epidemic sweeps them both back into stable monogamy. White’s memoir City Boy ...

How many gay men does it take to change an island?

James Davidson: The ancient Greek islands

10 June 1999
... I translate, hopefully, as ‘San Salvador’. There are several other beaches, of course, but gay people don’t go there much and we have disdained them. The route to Superparadise runs past the runway. A little off the end of it you come to a turning and have to choose between right and left. Left will take you to the straight side of the beach and ...


Terry Eagleton: The Blackwater Lightship by Colm Tóibín

14 October 1999
The Blackwater Lightship 
by Colm Tóibín.
Picador, 273 pp., £15, September 1999, 0 330 38985 8
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... You know, in my family,’ remarks a gay Irish architect in Colm Tóibín’s The Blackwater Lightship, ‘my brothers and sisters – even the married ones – still haven’t told my parents that they are heterosexual.’ It is a neat Wildean inversion, one of the few good jokes in this harrowing, deeply unfunny novel, and a flash of wit with wider implications ...

Do It and Die

Richard Horton

20 April 1995
by Abraham Verghese.
Phoenix, 347 pp., £18.99, May 1994, 1 897580 26 6
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... setting came Dr Abraham Verghese. Abraham Verghese’s story has to do with migration: his own in search of a peaceful settlement and that of his patients with Aids. Verghese’s journey had taken him to Johnson City in East Tennessee, a small town of about 50,000 people, which nestles in the forest highlands of the Chickasaw, Choctaw and Cherokee. Johnson ...

Taking leave

Mark Edmundson

2 March 1989
Borrowed Time 
by Paul Monette.
Collins Harvill, 342 pp., £12.50, October 1988, 0 00 271057 9
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... in certain parts of large American cities, you encounter a common sight, a group of men, obviously gay, moving in a sort of protective cluster through the crowd. In the middle of the group is one man who is obviously very, very sick. His friends will not let anyone get too close, but not because he presents an immediate danger to the passers-by. It is the man ...
21 February 1980
Gya/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism 
by Mary Daly.
Women’s Press, 485 pp., £8.95, November 1980, 0 7043 2829 1
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The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the 19th Century 
by Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar.
Yale, 719 pp., £15.75, October 1980, 0 300 02286 7
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Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes 
by Margaret Dickie Uroff.
Illinois, 235 pp., £6.95, November 1980, 0 252 00734 4
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Women Writing and Writing about Women 
edited by Mary Jacobus.
Croom Helm, 201 pp., £9.50, October 1980, 0 85664 745 4
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... words down, re-assembling and re-coupling them: hagography instead of hagiography, crone-ology, re-search, dis-cover, re-call; seeing/naming/acting, re-member/invent, not bewilder but ‘to be wilder’. It would be a mistake to see these strategies as one feminist writer’s mere perversity. They have much in common with the academic style of suture (coupling ...
19 June 1986
The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud. Vol. II: The Tender Passion 
by Peter Gay.
Oxford, 490 pp., £19.50, June 1986, 0 19 503741 3
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... into its own: its complacencies, tyrannies and inhibitions now seem positively seductive. Peter Gay proposes to write a series of six volumes on ‘The Bourgeois Experience’, of which this is the second, and it is clear that he is on the way to sales and success. Shrewdly, the first two volumes deal respectively with sex and love as parts of the bourgeois ...

Roaming the Greenwood

Colm Tóibín: A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition by Gregory Woods

21 January 1999
A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition 
by Gregory Woods.
Yale, 448 pp., £24.95, February 1998, 0 300 07201 5
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... devotion’. His essay was written around 1932, a long time before any clear view emerged of the gay writer’s place in literary tradition, and before the idea emerged that Irish, Jewish or gay (or, later, South American) writing was itself the centre rather than the periphery renewing the centre. Borges was, in many ...

Starting over

Malise Ruthven

9 July 1987
Cities on a Hill 
by Frances FitzGerald.
Picador, 414 pp., £4.50, March 1987, 0 330 29845 3
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... she studied for this book: the Castro Street quarter in San Francisco – centre of its gay community and a beacon for homosexuals everywhere; Liberty Baptist Church, the fundamentalist empire created by Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority and America’s best-known ‘televangelist’; Sun City, a retirement community in the Florida ...

Unfair to gays

Simon Raven

19 June 1980
The Homosexual as Hero in Contemporary Fiction 
by Stephen Adams.
Vision, 208 pp., £10.95, March 1980, 0 85478 204 4
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... compare small things with great) hanker after both conventional success and the goodies of Gay Cockayne, which of course is very greedy of them and quite rightly leads to their resounding pratfalls. Now, none of this is dull (though there are some ugly clots of jargon here and there), and on the whole Mr Adams’s survey of homosexual novelists, their ...

Among the Flutterers

Colm Tóibín: The Pope Wears Prada

19 August 2010
The Pope Is Not Gay 
by Angelo Quattrocchi, translated by Romy Clark Giuliani.
Verso, 181 pp., £8.90, June 2010, 978 1 84467 474 9
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... way. A few weeks earlier, in her column on 30 March, Dowd had referred to the efforts to demonise gay priests as a way for the hierarchy to wriggle out of responsibility: In an ad in the Times on Tuesday, Bill Donohue, the Catholic League president, offered this illumination: ‘The Times continues to editorialise about the “paedophilia crisis”, when all ...

My Shirt-Front Starched

Adam Phillips: Proust’s Megalomania

27 July 2016
Proust: The Search 
by Benjamin Taylor.
Yale, 199 pp., £16.99, November 2015, 978 0 300 16416 9
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... a faith in naivety, in never knowing beforehand what is going to matter to you, or why. When In Search of Lost Time is not a book about and inspired by disillusionment, it is a great book about the wonders of curiosity. Proust was interested in the aristocracy partly because he was curious about the people who seemed to be the least curious about those ...

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