The Third Sex

The Third Sex

3.1 (10 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Translated by 

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Description

A gold mine of information about a hidden queer culture Thirty-two years before Simone de Beauvoir's classic The Second Sex, popular French novelist Willy published The Third Sex, a vivid description of the world of European homosexuals in France, Italy, and Germany during the late 1920s. Stepping directly into the heart of gay men's culture, Willy follows homosexual nightlife into music halls, nightclubs, casinos, bars, and saunas. While he finds plenty of drug and alcohol abuse, he also discovers homosexual publishers, scientific societies, group rivalries, and opinions--both medical and political--about the nature of homosexuality itself. Lawrence R. Schehr's introduction provides context and translator's notes for this first-ever English edition.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 152 pages
  • 142.24 x 231.14 x 20.32mm | 340.19g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252032160
  • 9780252032165
  • 2,002,534

Review quote

"Willy ends this strange and fascinating text with the old question: is it better to stay in the closet or openly celebrate one's sexuality? The questions of The Third Sex are those we seem[ed] to still be facing at the last quarter of the century."--Rain Taxi "Well worth reading. The very idea of a widespread, trendy 1920s homosexuality is fascinating."--Modernism/Modernity "Ostensibly a quasi-scientific tour of the male homosexual world in France, Italy, and Germany in the 1920s, 'The Third Sex' is by turns leering, sympathetic, philosophical, patronizing, exuberant, impenetrable, tender and hilarious, often all on the same page. . . . This slender volume offers a fascinating glimpse not so much of exotic homosexual practices but of something much more delicate and transitory: the moment just before sexual acts had been organized into the solid categories we recognize and traffic today. . . . It's not about the love that dared not speak its name; it's about the love that didn't quite know what its name was yet and was trying on many different ones, all at the same time."--Stacey D'Erasmo, New York Times Book Review "What a charming and peculiar bulletin from the past is this little book from 1927, supposedly written by a man famous in his day as a cultural impresario and libertine but now remembered as the husband of Colette. . . . Whoever wrote it, this slender volume offers a fascinating glimpse not so much of exotic homosexual practices but of something much more delicate and transitory: the moment just beforehomosexuality became an identity, before sexual acts had been organized into the solid categories we recognize and traffic in today. A collision of conflicting impulses and wildly incongruous discourses, 'The Third Sex' does not know what it is--'gay Baedeker,' cautionary tale, scientific treatise, pornographic handbook, literary essay, opportunity to slander the Italians and Germans--and that is what makes it so delightful."--New York Times Book Reviewshow more

Rating details

10 ratings
3.1 out of 5 stars
5 10% (1)
4 20% (2)
3 50% (5)
2 10% (1)
1 10% (1)
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