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Cleveland

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? ...

Hochjuden

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 ...

Learning to speak

Gay Clifford, 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 ...

All about Freud

J.P. Stern, 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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

In Search of Monsters

Stephen W. Smith: What are they doing in Mali?, 7 February 2013

... cent on those making more than a million euros a year – to the now imperilled legalisation of gay marriage, by way of the controversial banning of homework in primary schools, not much has come together under Hollande. Last October he said clearly that French support for the struggle against Islamists in Mali would not go beyond ‘logistical and ...

Do It and Die

Richard Horton, 20 April 1995

Soundings 
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 ...

Mothering

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Unshockable Victorians

John Bayley, 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 ...

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 ...

What Can You Know?

Adam Phillips: Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost, 26 April 2007

The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million 
by Daniel Mendelsohn.
Harper, 512 pp., £25, April 2007, 978 0 00 725193 3
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... time ago, when I was six or seven or eight years old,’ Mendelsohn begins The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, ‘it would occasionally happen that I’d walk into a room and certain people would begin to cry.’ These people were his old Jewish relatives in Miami Beach, and they would cry because he reminded them so much of his great-uncle ...

My Shirt-Front Starched

Adam Phillips: Proust’s Megalomania, 28 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 ...

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