Love in a Dark Time

Love in a Dark Time : Gay Lives from Wilde to Almodovar

3.77 (308 ratings by Goodreads)
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In Love in a Dark Time, Colm Toibin looks at the life and work of some of the greatest and most influential artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His subjects range from figures such as Oscar Wilde, born in the 1850s, to Pedro Almodovar, born nearly a hundred years later. Toibin studies how a changing world impacted on the lives of people who, on the whole, kept their homosexuality hidden, and reveals that the laws of desire changed everything for them, both in their private lives and in the spirit of their work. 'Toibin treats his subject with confidence and authority, both of which attributes are only strengthened by his moderation of tone and the depth of his compassion.He writes with rare tenderness of figures as disparate as Elizabeth Bishop and Francis Bacon, Thomas Mann and Roger Casement, Thom Gunn and Pedro Almodovar' John Banville, Irish Times 'Such readings are crucial, for it is only when homosexuality is removed from the margins and placed at the very heart of the cultural canon that the world predicted by Toibin in which "being gay will no longer involve difficulty and discrimination" will come to pass' Michael Arditti, The Times 'Toibin writes with high-voltage restraint; his sentences are masterfully devoid of trickery ...He is tuned in to the silent language of families, the messages that are unspoken and slip past the rest of the world, landing deep into the hearts of those who understand' Robert Sullivan, Vogueshow more

Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 128 x 192 x 14mm | 1,360.79g
  • Pan MacMillan
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0330491385
  • 9780330491389
  • 130,757

Review quote

'Toibin writes prose of a heart-breaking beauty' Daily Telegraphshow more

Review Text

Colm Toibin, accomplished critic and writer, has reviewed a number of biographies of gay figures for the London Review of Books, and here he collects together a series of extended reflections on the lives of gay men and one woman, most of them artists of one kind or another, from Oscar Wilde to Mark Dotty. Toibin combines biography with artistic appreciation to create wide-ranging and thoughtful assessments of his subjects, with their sexuality and its effect on their personal and professional lives a focus throughout. In fact, what is most striking about the people he portrays is the lack of obvious common ground between them. Some explored their sexuality with Dionysian relish (most notably Roger Casement and Francis Bacon) while others such as Thomas Mann married, had children and merely flirted with the same sex. Some were openly gay while E M Forster was so discreet that his biographer Lionel Trilling failed to realize fully that his subject was gay until after he had finished writing his book. Some were devout Christians (Pedro Almodovar and Oscar Wilde), and Francis Bacon used religious themes in his paintings, whereas Thom Gunn and Elizabeth Bishop seemed to have no need of religious belief. Toibin's characterizations are always sensitive and intelligent, as are his musings on the interplay between sexuality and art as a whole - he speculates that gay artists, positioned by their sexuality at a slight angle to society, provide a new viewpoint even when they are not referring directly to homosexual issues. Altogether, an accomplished and readable collection. (Kirkus UK)show more

About Colm Toibin

Colm Toibin was born in Ireland in 1955. He is the author of five novels, most recently The Master which was shorlisted for the 2004 Man Booker Prize. His non-fiction includes Bad Blood, Homage to Barcelona and The Sign of the Cross. His work has been translated into seventeen languages. He lives in more
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