Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century
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Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century

By (author) Graham Robb

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Award-winning author Graham Robb explores the story -- and history --of male and female homosexuality in the UK and US, uncovering elements from legislature, literature, medicine and day-to-day life that point to a particularly self-aware and sophisticated culture of Victorian homosexuality. Drawing on famous cases such as the Wilde trials, as well as a wide variety of previously neglected sources, Robb recreates this era with great insight, humour and aplomb, exploding modern myths and restoring the real and vibrant truth of homosexual love to today's readers: Strangers tells a tale that is in part familiar, and in part extremely surprising -- a story of oppression and secrecy, but also of unexpected tolerance and familiarity.

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  • Paperback | 400 pages
  • 128 x 196 x 16mm | 258.55g
  • 05 Nov 2004
  • Pan MacMillan
  • PICADOR
  • London
  • English
  • 0330482246
  • 9780330482240
  • 263,016

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Author Information

Graham Robb was born in Manchester in 1958. He has published widely in nineteenth-century French literature: his highly acclaimed adaptation of Claude Pichois and Jean Ziegler's biography of Baudelaire appeared in 1989, his biography of Balzac in 1994, his Victor Hugo -- winner of the Royal Society of Literature Heinemann Award and the Whitbread Biography Award -- in 1997, and his critically applauded biography of Rimbaud -- shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction -- in 2000. He lives in Oxford.

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Review text

By investigating the obstacles presented to British homosexuality in the 19th century, and the means by which they were circumvented, Robb offers the reader a portrait of a vanished age. In part social history, in part an exploration of ideas, the book rehearses the physiological and psychological theories which were offered in explanation of the phenomenon of same-sex love. Illuminated by literature, law and pharmacological information, this volume is of interest to the specialist and non-specialist alike. Theory is illustrated by interview material or historical documentation including personal letters. Writers cited include, as well as the ubiquitous Oscar Wilde, William Beckford, Goethe, Gogol, Gide and Strindberg. Their work and lives illustrate the range of attitudes to homosexuality found in the 19th century. The final chapter, 'Heroes of Modern Life', takes us through to the 20th century, the theories of Foucault, and the beginning of the gay rights movement, ending with a nod to the gay detective in film and story. (Kirkus UK)

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