Big news! LibraryThing is now free to all! Read the blog post and discuss the change on Talk.
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Love Stories: Sex between Men before…

Love Stories: Sex between Men before Homosexuality

by Jonathan Ned Katz

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
1685115,350 (4.04)None
"Abraham Lincoln arrived in Springfield, Illinois, on April 15, 1837, and met Joshua Fry Speed, who offered the new legislator half of his double bed. The two shared that bed for more than three years, and Speed would later recall that "no two men were ever more intimate." The story of Lincoln's relationship with Speed, which opens this book, transports us into a forgotten world of love between men." "Jonathan Ned Katz presents stories of men's intimacies with men in the nineteenth century, tales with all the features of a good novel: engaging characters, moving conflicts, and surprising revelations. Katz draws flesh-and-blood portraits of these intimate friendships, tracing the way men struggled to name, define, and defend their deep feelings for one another. Some of these are love stories, some sex stories, some stories about love and sex. In a world before "gay" and "straight" referred to sexuality, men like Lincoln, Walt Whitman, John Addington Symonds, and James Mills Peirce created new, affirmative ways of naming and conceiving their intimacies with other men. Katz quotes diaries, letters, newspapers, and poems of offer glimpses into an uncharted territory of romance and eros." "Love Stories is an original and engaging take on sexual diversity over time. By this book's end its many chronicles coalesce into a beautiful portrait of the varieties of love and lust in another social world."--Jacket.… (more)



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

Showing 5 of 5
The scholarship is somewhat less than awesome, and he's terribly long-winded about his argument, but the real value of Katz's book is in the collection of 19th century primary source material (letters, news articles, testimony, etc.) on/from/between people he terms "men-loving men" (as homosexuality as the sociological construct we understand today didn't exist yet). I kind of wish the book were more about 19th century male/male eros and less about linguistics issues (i.e. the freedom to name an unspeakable act), but that lack of freedom to do so makes finding primary sources near impossible...so yeah, catch-22. Definitely a fascinating look at 19th century m/m love.

* The poetry tag is included due to over half the book focusing on Walt Whitman, his work, his letters, and his sex life. (Walt's archives are huge.) ( )
  sageness | Feb 7, 2014 |
Great insight on how men-loving men struggled for wording to properly express their desires and emotions in a more positive light than society would allow at the time. Katz was careful to stress the difference of what was acceptable in society then and now when it came to the affection between men and/or their behavior. It served as a helpful reminder of what these men were saying in their original context rather than how it may sound in respect to today's thinking. I very much appreciated his care of adding a disclaimer to any speculations offered when interpreting letters and other such written works of the subjects of his study. ( )
  ofstoneandice | Jul 28, 2010 |
I've often heard it claimed that we can't use terms like homosexuality to describe people before that label existed and it wasn't until I read this book that I fully understood why. The stories and letters contained in this book are extraordinary. For anyone interested in the history of sexuality, this is a must-read. ( )
  HGregory | Jun 3, 2010 |
This book had been one of my "to read" lists for a couple of years now but as it wasn't readily available in the libraries round here, I wasn't sure if I would ever have a chance to read it. But then I searched for second-hand copies online and bought it.

I must admit that the title misled me, to an extent. Yes, Katz is writing about sex between men before homosexuality but his study has much more specific focus than I originally thought - nineteenth-century America. Unsurprisingly, Walt Whitman features quite heavily in the book, for which reason we get something on John Addington Symonds and even a little on Edward Carpenter.

A fascinating book that I've been reading leisurely in bed before going to sleep. ( )
1 vote mari_reads | Sep 2, 2006 |
titillating ( )
  maledei | Oct 31, 2005 |
Showing 5 of 5
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (4.04)
3 3
3.5 1
4 4
4.5 2
5 3

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 146,601,848 books! | Top bar: Always visible