Pages Passed from Hand to Hand: The Hidden Tradition of Homosexual Literature in English from 1748 to 1914 ed. David Leavitt & Mark Mitchell

PPFHTH(Not discussed by the group but written in a personal capacity.)

The stories are quite bland to start with. Not surprising since they would otherwise be describing criminal acts and be liable to prosecution.

Then, in 1881 comes Teleny, written anonymously but often attributed to Oscar Wilde. This is graphic in the extreme.

The editors should not have allowed a very boring book to be included in full, coming in at 123 pages and out of all proportion to everything else in the book.

The priest and the acolyte, written by a priest, would get even more censure today than it did back in 1894.

Also likely top be more controversial today is a story about a man who sits at the front of church to ogle choirboys. We used to have someone who did that but we thought he came because of our high standard of choral music! However, pedant alert, a procession during Solemn Evensong comes at the end, never at the beginning (p. 346)

Of the perceived danger of these writings: That young men are here and there cursed with these unnatural cravings, no one acquainted with our public school life can deny. It is for such to wrestle with the devil within them; and many a long and agonized struggle is fought, unseen and unknown, within the heart of a young man. A publication of this kind, falling into his hands before the victory is complete, would, unless the poor fellow were of an ex­ceptionally strong nature, utterly ruin him for all eternity.

Of the sort of people who wrote: “The man who achieves complete and satisfyint sexual experience in life is never obsessed with sex to the extent to whim Lawrence was in his writings. Your strong, vital, satisfied male does not rapturously hymn the act of the flesh in his work — very much to the contrary, he is generally very quiet about it. The concupiscent, insatiable Tolstoi preaches austerity and asceticism; it is the Swinburnes and Nietzsches and Lawrences who persistently glorify and magnify the joys they hale never really experienced in all their fullness, if at all.” Cecil Gray, in Musical Chairs (1948)

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