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Paralysing posterity

Dan Jacobson, 20 June 1985

Byron and Greek Love: Homophobia in 19th-Century England 
by Louis Crompton.
Faber, 419 pp., £17.50, May 1985, 0 571 13597 8
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... literary and intellectual in character. We are told on the dust-jacket of his book that Professor Crompton is a founder of the Gay Caucus for the Modern Languages. The ‘Greek Love’ which preoccupies him is not to be confused with Byron’s philhellenism – with his denunciations of those Scots and Englishmen who had carried back to Britain whatever Greek ...

Poets and Pretenders

John Sutherland, 2 April 1987

The Great Pretender 
by James Atlas.
Viking, 239 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 9780670814619
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The Position of the Body 
by Richard Stern.
Northwestern, 207 pp., $21.95, November 1986, 0 8101 0730 9
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The Setting Sun and the Rolling World 
by Charles Mungoshi.
Heinemann, 202 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 0 434 48166 1
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Conversations with Lord Byron on Perversion, 162 Years after his Lordship’s Death 
by Amanda Prantera.
Cape, 174 pp., £9.95, March 1987, 9780224024235
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... indeterminately sexed in a way that always excited the poet. In Byron and Greek Love (1985) Louis Crompton assumes that the episode was a homosexual experiment that was later to trigger Byron’s full-blown bisexuality. Prantera’s narrative moves on two tracks. On one side of the Visual Display Screen the baffled research team try desperately to ...

Enlightenment Erotica

David Nokes, 4 August 1988

Eros Revived: Erotica of the Enlightenment in England and America 
by Peter Wagner.
Secker, 498 pp., £30, March 1988, 0 436 56051 8
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’Tis Nature’s Fault: Unauthorised Sexuality during the Enlightenment 
edited by Robert Purks Maccubin.
Cambridge, 260 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 521 34539 1
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The New Eighteenth Century: Theory, Politics, English Literature 
edited by Felicity Nussbaum and Laura Brown.
Methuen, 320 pp., £28, February 1988, 0 416 01631 6
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... spate of prosecutions and executions in Holland between 1730-32 is a fact of major significance. Louis Crompton has referred to these ‘Dutch Massacres’ as the first genocide of homosexuals in Western civilisation, but the contributors to ’Tis Nature’s Fault adopt a more sober tone. Trumbach puts the number of those executed at 267; Rousseau ...

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