Unfair to gays

Simon Raven

  • The Homosexual as Hero in Contemporary Fiction by Stephen Adams
    Vision, 208 pp, £10.95, March 1980, ISBN 0 85478 204 4

Although Iris Murdoch and other females are on the roll, this book is almost entirely about the ways in which male homosexual novelists and their heroes evade or challenge established values and customs. In novels by most heterosexuals, and by many homosexuals as well, there is a strong tendency to portray ‘queer’ men as evil seducers or else as capering clowns. ‘The homosexual hero’, on the other hand, since he is presented by authors sympathetic to homosexuality, makes serious proclamation (and boy, oh boy, does he proclaim) of his right to lead his own life in his own way, regardless of parodists and in defiance of persecutors, to reinterpret social and moral conventions in his own terms and in the interest of his own special condition, and to seek out or create his own brave new world beyond the boundaries of the dreary dump in which (it is implied) mere heterosexuals are content to fret and rot from crib to coffin.

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