Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"It does one good to see their balls dangling."

The Journal of Homosexuality is intended only for the very scholarly or the very rich. Access to the current issue for example—only online and only for thirty days—is $213! David Bergman in his introductory comments on our recent reading of Thoreau referenced Walter Harding's article "Thoreau's Sexuality" in the J(H)oH (1991). Thanks to the Kouroo Contexture (which I couldn't possibly begin to explain) this article is available in occasionally odd OCR. I recommend it to anyone who might be interested. I came away persuaded that Thoreau may never have had sex with anyone or thing but that his orientation was definitely toward men.

But—stop the presses!—I've just become aware of Schuyler Bishop's new novel Thoreau in Love which imagines the six months in 1840 that Henry David spent on Staten Island (his longest time away from home). I say "imagines" because although Thoreau began his journals three years earlier and continued them for the rest of his life, 250 pages are missing (i.e. ripped out)! You needn't imagine which six months in his 44 years they cover. Christopher Bram interviews Bishop about his book.

The heading of this post, by the way, is vegetable not animal: the "balls" referring to the tubers of the potato plant, what we ordinarily just call "potatoes."

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