WNET/Channel Thirteen’s new online news and culture magazine MetroFocus has an interesting post by Christopher Bram, the author of the newly released book “Eminent Outlaws” on prominent 20th century gay writers. In his post he examines what drew the likes of Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, James Baldwin and other prominent writers to New York City.
Here’s an excerpt:
For a long time, I believed that my first set of reasons for coming to New York — work and culture — were lies and that the second set — love and sex — were the truth. But while I wrote my literary history, “Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America,” I realized that all of my reasons were good, and they were all true.
Most of the writers I included in the book came to New York, and they came here for both art and sex. Tennessee Williams moved from New Orleans to break into the theater but also to meet what he called “companions.” Gore Vidal arrived after World War II and discovered both the baths and the publishing world. (One night he went to the baths with a new friend, Truman Capote.) James Baldwin was born here, but he moved from Harlem to Greenwich Village to be around other writers and to meet men. Frank O’Hara came from Massachusetts to work at the Museum of Modern Art and to find a boyfriend. Edmund White arrived directly from college as a playwright and happily pursued men while he found a new career as a novelist.
Read the full article via METROFOCUS
About the book:
In the years following World War II, a small group of gay writers established themselves as literary power players, fueling cultural changes that would resonate for decades to come, and transforming the American literary landscape forever.
In EMINENT OUTLAWS, novelist Christopher Bram brilliantly chronicles the rise of gay consciousness in American writing. Beginning with a first wave of major gay literary figures-Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, Truman Capote, Allen Ginsberg, and James Baldwin-he shows how (despite criticism and occasional setbacks) these pioneers set the stage for new generations of gay writers to build on what they had begun: Armistead Maupin, Edmund White, Tony Kushner, and Edward Albee among them.
Weaving together the crosscurrents, feuds, and subversive energies that provoked these writers to greatness, EMINENT OUTLAWS is a rich and essential work. With keen insights, it takes readers through fifty years of momentous change: from a time when being a homosexual was a crime in forty-nine states and into an age of same-sex marriage and the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Visit CHRISTOPHER BRAM WEBSITE for more info.