Homintern - Gregory Woods



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Homintern - how gay culture liberated the modern world
Gregory Woods
Yale University Press
UK Publication Date

A landmark account of gay and lesbian creative networks and the seismic changes they brought to twentieth-century culture

In a hugely ambitious study which crosses continents, languages, and almost a century, Gregory Woods identifies the ways in which homosexuality has helped shape Western culture. Extending from the trials of Oscar Wilde to the gay liberation era, this book examines a period in which increased visibility made acceptance of homosexuality one of the measures of modernity.

Woods shines a revealing light on the diverse, informal networks of gay people in the arts and other creative fields. Uneasily called "the Homintern" (an echo of Lenin's "Comintern") by those suspicious of an international homosexual conspiracy, such networks connected gay writers, actors, artists, musicians, dancers, filmmakers, politicians, and spies. While providing some defense against dominant heterosexual exclusion, the grouping brought solidarity, celebrated talent, and, in doing so, invigorated the majority culture.

Woods introduces an enormous cast of gifted and extraordinary characters, most of them operating with surprising openness; but also explores such issues as artistic influence, the coping strategies of minorities, the hypocrisies of conservatism, and the effects of positive and negative discrimination. Traveling from Harlem in the 1910s to 1920s Paris, 1930s Berlin, 1950s New York and beyond, this sharply observed, warm-spirited book presents a surpassing portrait of twentieth-century gay culture and the men and women who both redefined themselves and changed history.

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Gregory Woods was appointed to Britain's first chair in Gay and Lesbian Studies by Nottingham Trent University in 1998. He lives in Nottingham, UK.

"Wood's is a knowledgeable and entertaining guide."-Caleb Crain, the Guardian

"Woods' history of the 'homintern' is in turn hilarious and horrifying… documents shocking levels of persecution. Homophobia was pervasive and vicious… But this is not a gloomy book. Woods lovingly presents a range of gloriously outrageous gay and lesbian individuals and couples."-Joanna Bourke, BBC History

"Homintern shines a fascinating spotlight on the diverse and informal networks of people who made up the gay communities worldwide which helped to shape art in its many forms over the decades, involving poets, dancers, actors, artists, designers, composers, politicians and spies… This is a book which throws unreasonable prejudice in the trash can where it belongs, clears up misleading myths about gay people, and should be on the reading list of every fresher starting a university degree."-Richard Edmonds, Hiskind

Finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards in the LGBTQ Studies category.

"Without letting the purveyors of clichs about cliquish homosexuals off the hook, this lively history turns those stereotypes on their heads, taking seriously the queer networks that were central to modernism. Richly literary and attentive to networks of both men and women, Homintern also has a wide geographical range. Russian, Scandinavian and South American texts are thoughtfully integrated with accounts of New York, London, Berlin, Paris and their Mediterranean outposts. Gregory Woods writes with an insider's flair, but does not sugarcoat the histories he tells. Frank about self-destructive behavior, he is also sensitive to divisions among sexual minorities along lines of ideology, class and generation."-Christopher Reed, author of Art and Homosexuality: A History of Ideas

"Woods is a born storyteller, and he tells the story of the interlocking, international gay and lesbian networks in an unflaggingly lively way. This is a book that needs to be published."-David Bergman, author of The Violet Hour and Gay American Autobiography: Writings from Whitman to Sedaris

"Gregory Woods'Hominternis not just a first-rate work of literary and historical scholarship but a deeply moving narrative in its own right. In its global reach, it has no precedent, yet Woods never sacrifices intimacy for grandeur. In the future I have no doubt that scholars and readers will look to this as an essential text, one of those rare books that make other books possible."-David Leavitt, author of The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer

Keyword Index
Gay culture - History - 20th century.|Civilization, Western - 20th century.
Country of Publication
Number of Pages
xv, 421 , 16 unnumbered of plates

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