Saturday, May 31, 2014

Cavafy in English accents

Everything is Greece to the wise man”, said Philostratus, in his Life of Apollonius of Tyana, at the beginning of the third century AD. The assertion was at once true and defiant: despite the dominance of Rome, Greek was the lingua franca of anyone of intellectual pretensions in the known world. The defiance was both manifest and implicit in Pausanias’s second-century catalogue raisonné of the classical monuments of mainland Hellas: his Description of Greece makes no mention of the temple which the Romans had built adjacent to the Parthenon. Pausanias ignores what all contemporary Greeks found it painful to acknowledge: their long subjection to Rome.’  —Frederick Raphael in the 28.5.14 TLS.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Another Cover of …

Valancourt Books is republishing many out-of-print books of gay interest.

"Gay Power to Gay People"

In celebration of LGBT pride month, Rainbow History Project and the Historical Society of Washington are co-sponsoring a panel discussion of the early 1970s Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and its activities in Washington DC. The panelists are Brian Miller, Kent Jarratt, Michael Yarr, and Nancy Tucker; the discussion will be moderated by Rainbow History Project board member Philip Clark. The event will take place on Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 11 a.m.. The discussion will be held in HSW's Kiplinger Library in the former Carnegie Library, 801 K St NW Washington, DC (nearest Metro: Mount Vernon Station on the Green & Yellow lines). The GLF-DC was part of the ferment that followed the Stonewall riots in 1969. The discussion is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cicero's Big Lie

The blogger, whatwouldcicerodo, gives his spin on Pro Caelio, Cicero’s speech in defense of Marcus Caelius Rufus. The events surrounding this speech also form the backdrop for Steven Saylor’s The Venus Throw, the fourth book in his "Roma sub Rosa" series. We will discuss the first one, Roman Blood, at our July 2 meeting.

Monday, May 12, 2014

What Would Cicero Do?

"The Unhealthy Sex Life of … "   —

I'm looking forward to our discussion of Roman Blood.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Adam de Hegedus / Rodney Garland Bibliography

Following up on my earlier post about "The Heart in Exile", I have made a list from the online catalogs of the British Library and Library of Congress, and also a few internet searches. The bibliography in full may be viewed on my new blog

Saturday, May 10, 2014

"Cock" on Stage

Mike Bartlett's Cock, which we voted on recently and may soon discuss, is having its DC premiere at Studio Theatre, May 14 — June 22. I'll be very interested to hear what people think of it.

UPDATE: Some BookMen at the party had seen this production and liked it. Here's Peter Mark's WP review.

Friday, May 9, 2014

"The Heart in Exile" by Rodney Garland

I happened upon this book while I was looking up the definition of “occult” in the Oxford English Dictionary Online. There was this quotation supporting the definition — “Not disclosed or divulged, secret, kept secret, communicated only to the initiated”:

A. Tomlinson et al. Consumption, Identity & Style (1991) (BNC) 153 Although in the typically occult language of the time, Garland's prescient account [in his notorious homosexual novel of 1953 The Heart in Exile] catches society at a crossroads.”

Occult, prescient, notorious, homosexual – this book seemed to have it all. I felt compelled to learn more about it. The disturbingly frank London homosexuality cover art hooked me.

There is not much information available about the author. I learned that Rodney Garland was a pseudonym used by Adam de Hegedus (1906 – 1958). He was born in Budapest and studied for a career in the Hungarian diplomatic service, but he moved to England during the 1930’s to become a writer. His published works include the following:
  • The Heart In Exile
  • World Without Dreams
  • The Troubled Midnight
  • Sorcerer’s Broth
  • Hell And High Water
I came across two published reviews of The Heart In Exile. In the New York Times, October 31, 1954, there is a review with that has following abstract:

THIS is a strange novel, perhaps because it is about strange people, in that they differ from the rest of us who call ourselves normal. And yet (as the reader will quickly learn from this sensitive and deeply perceptive story of the homosexual and his underworld) the "queer" make up a substantial segment of the population, a million males in England, at least two million in the United States.

In Time, September 20, 1954, the following tidbit was available:

…an English novel about homosexuality. Its psychiatrist-author has adopted a pseudonym to write about a psychiatrist and his life around the London "underground," where homosexuals lead their furtive existence. The book is a sociological blueprint in the fictional form of a suspense thriller. The psychiatrist tries to find out why a personable young solicitor committed suicide on the eve of his marriage. The quest leads deep into the English underground, which ranges from the cockney East End to the elegant West End and...

I bought the Amazon Kindle edition for only ninety-nine cents. That is a fraction of the cost of buying online access to read the book reviews noted above.

The sensitive and deeply perceptive homosexual underworld cover art for the U.S. edition is not as alluring as the British cover.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

"A Taste of Honey"

Wonderful discussion last night! I went hoping to improve my appreciation of Shelagh Delaney's play, and I did, understanding that the nothing that "happens" in the play is precisely the play's point. Men come, men go, the Mother-Daughter relationship survives intact.

Tony Richardson's movie is worth viewing both by lovers and disparagers of the play … complementary, sometimes contrasting. It can be seen in its entirety (with Portuguese subtitles for the hearing impaired) on YouTube (Robert's "package" arriving at 16:53).

P.S. For "Variation on a Theme," the play "Honey" was written to rebut, check out the "Latest News…" on the Terence Rattigan homepage.

Feelings can’t sometimes be helped, but the expression of them can.

Queer Revolution, Not Mere Inclusion

While perusing the twitterverse, I came across an article about this interestingly titled book — Against Equality: Queer Revolution, Not Mere Inclusion.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


If you watch the film version of "A Taste of Honey" check out Jimmie (Paul Danquah) in the second scene in which he appears where he is coming down from the ship.  What a package!!!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The slow tragic death of lgbt publishing

Some argue that the need for “gay” retailers is disappearing thanks to assimilation — that I am an American first and foremost, who just happens to act a bit fey, so I should just go to a normal bookstore and find the latest Christopher Rice or Sarah Waters. Ahh, the assimilation argument. I would love to walk into a generic bookseller and see LGBT authors prominently shelved. —Steve Berman in Salon