Sunday, February 26, 2017

"Anal Resilience"

So called by Jane Ward (p. 43). Curious, I googled. Unsurprisingly the first dozen hits were hers. Unexpectedly, but still unsurprising, the next dozen—female porn stars. (Guys never get the recognition.) But sandwiched somewhere in between was this  pdf  on “The nature of piles”. Which begins:

Few who reach middle age can claim never to have had any symptoms related to the anus.

What a promising beginning. One would think it better not to continue. But the good doctor, J Alexander-Williams, does:

Thomson has shown elegantly, if not originally, that what many regard as piles are normal vascular cushions. We all have them, and they are as natural as the vascular cusions at the upper end of the alimentary tract that we call lips.

Are you still with me? Leaving nothing out:

We are prepared to accept a wide variety of lips: thick lips, pouting lips, petulant lips, wet lips, and even hot lips. Similarly, variations in the vascular cushions at the anus should possibly be regarded as signs of character rather than disease.

Now I lay me down to sleep. You’ve got the link.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Butch & Bonded

Just a word on my reading so far of the book we're discussing this Wednesday, Not Gay. I found the first chapter something of a slog (theory!). But I've just finished the second chapter and find it much more readable and entertaining. So if Chapter 1 has you mired in a Slough of Despond, skip it!

And once you make it to page 139, you will have learned that surfers are an ideal (if not, the ideal) of straight men who want to have sex with men (with straight men). The cover, even so, might still be a little hard to read. Hence, this link.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Walt Whitman, a novelist? Who knew?!

I hadn't intended to keep posting items about Walt Whitman, but this one is too good to keep to myself! A researcher has just turned up WW's long-lost, never published novel, The Life and Adventures of Jack Engle. It sounds fascinating!

You can read the whole thing here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

More 19th-century love stories for your reading pleasure (and/or pleasure reading...:-)

If the item I just posted about Walt Whitman tickled your fancy, I invite you to check out two books our group read in 2006 and 2007, respectively:
Love Stories Between Men Before Homosexuality  by Jonathan Katz and
Graham Robb's Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century.

I found those, by the way, by scrolling down the list of "Books We Have Read" at the bottom of this blog, which the diligent Tim Walton regularly updates as our blogmaster.  If I counted correctly, we're now up to 254 titles—pretty good for slightly less than 18 years of existence!

Happy Valentine's Day from Walt Whitman!

The Metro section of today's Washington Post features a lovely story: "History's love letters provide heartfelt glimpses of the 'devoted' and 'besotted.' Among the examples cited is this one:

During the Civil War, Walt Whitman moved to Washington, where he met Peter Doyle, a former Confederate soldier. Whitman’s letters, including those to Doyle, were recently put online by the Library of Congress.

“They met one stormy night in 1865 when Whitman was the last passenger on Doyle’s car,” according to the Library Congress exhibit. “To Pete, the poet looked ‘like an old sea-captain.’ We were familiar at once. I put my hand on his knee — we understood from that time on we were the biggest sort of friends.”

“They said it was love at first sight,” said Barbara Bair, literature and cultural specialist. They took long walks. Whitman read Shakespeare to him. Doyle read limericks. In love letters, Whitman referred to Doyle as comrade, son and darling.

Their relationship changed, Bair said, when Whitman suffered a nearly fatal stroke while working late in the Treasury building. He moved to Camden, N.J., to live with his brother and recuperate.

In a letter dated June 20, 1877, Whitman wrote:

Dear, dear boy Pete I’m stopping here now for a week or two in the house I believe I have mentioned to you before, and where I wanted you to come and see me and still want you if you have a chance. But I spend most of my time down at an old farm down in New Jersey where I have a fine secluded wood and Creek and springs, where I pass my time alone, and yet not lonesome at all (often think of you Pete and put my arm around you and hug you up close, and give you a good buss often.)

“Your Old Walt.”

The profound portrayal of “longing” caused by the distance between the two lovers makes the letter compelling, Bair said.