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The Gay Canon: Great Books Every Gay Man…

The Gay Canon: Great Books Every Gay Man Should Read

by Robert Drake

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What a fascinating and potentially useful book. This book purports to guide the reader through the essential works of literature that should comprise a well-read, educated gay man's body of knowledge. The material is organized chronoligically. In addition, it is arranged to lead the reader through a course of reading to actually read or at least become familiar with these works in a structured manner. Each work is summarized and about 20 percent of them are covered in some depth. Whether or not one agrees with all the choices this book still provides a fine jumping off point toward some structured independent reading. ( )
2 vote AlexTheHunn | Jul 20, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385492286, Paperback)

Any attempt to identify the canonical or authoritative texts of any culture, let alone one as diverse as gay culture, is going to be fraught with peril, but Robert Drake makes a valiant effort here, operating on the assumption that "a gay book is a book that addresses issues of same-sex love, or a book written by an author who enjoys his same gender for sexual fulfillment and/or relief." (Of course, buried in that statement is an implicit assumption that we are, for the time being, only considering "same-sex love" between men; the formation of the lesbian canon is a task Drake leaves to others.) With position in the canon determined either by content or authorial orientation, but not necessarily both, some interesting choices wind up on the roster. You expected E.M. Forster, Marcel Proust, and Tony Kushner, no doubt, but what about Henry David Thoreau and Anne Rice? Twenty-three books are explored in particular depth, with the aim of providing a syllabus to be pursued alone or in a book group. Chances are you probably won't agree with everything Drake has to say about gay literature, but there's no doubt The Gay Canon will provoke and stimulate you. --Ron Hogan

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:36 -0400)

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