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2006-06, 350, Featured, Gay literature, Michael Wooliscroft

Gay Literature- Where Will It End?

Where Will It End? Tribulations of an Insufficiently Disciplined Collector

Michael Wooliscroft

TWENTY-EIGHTYEARS AGO, when I ‘came out’ as gay, I thought it important to develop a modest personal book collection which would focus on my newly identified homosexual heritage of which I was then only little aware. Little did I imagine what I had begun.I didn’t want to read theories of why people are gay—that seemed to be as profitless as reading about why people are heterosexual. I don’t believe that one’s sexuality is a choice. Most of us are just one or the other, though some people in the middle of the sexual spectrum are able to be actively bisexual.

What held interest for me were topics like: the history of gay societies; homosexual relationships through the ages in general and particular; the changing views of the institutional church on homosexual relationships; differing political homosexual agendas; and the persistence and indeed insistence of gay life and love even in particularly harsh circumstances. Above all, what I was most interested in was the creative expression of gay love and relationships by authors and artists who were gay.

At that time most gay, lesbian and gender studies collections in New Zealand’s public and academic libraries were fledgling ones. Gender studies programmes in universities were not common. Oftentimes explicitly gay material in terms of erotica—both pictorial and textual—was not generally available on open shelves as it is now. Such material mostly had to be specially requested through library staff. This was a particularly unattractive feature of filtering requests for those not studying the topic in a formal way. No doubt many people were deterred from making such requests.

During the 1970s and into the 1980s some books which would now fit naturally into gay/gender studies collections in bookshops and libraries were not classified as such and were relatively invisible to all but the most informed students.

Over the last twenty years the greater visibility of gays and lesbians in society, as they have rightly claimed their place in the sun rather than in the shadows of the closet, has helped to change institutional protocols such as these. Also the publishing of homosexual literature, as with the literature of other sexualities, has grown very significantly since the 1970s, only partly in response to developing gender studies programmes.

Among the wider populace—not only among gay people—there is a hunger for writing about gay people and gay themes. The warm response to Alan Hollinghurst’s The Line of Beauty[1] in the mainstream media and at writers’ and readers’ book festivals in Sydney and Auckland in 2005, with the majority of capacity audiences being ‘straight’, is evidence enough of the greater interest in fine literature about gay lifestyles.

In the late 1970s I wondered what it meant to be homosexual or gay. What sort of lifestyle could I adopt which would be one of integrity with my own beliefs most of all but at the same time be aligned with that of other gay men? What history did we share? How could I learn from those gay men who had come before me as I had earlier learned, within my heterosexual nuclear family, their traditions, ethics, a sense of social justice, and my genealogy?

I was aware of some artists who were homosexual and was familiar with some iconic homosexual images. I knew no gay poetry apart from possible gay nuances and tender affectionate regard between men expressed by some of the Great War poets. I had read barely any gay fiction though I was aware of just a handful of writers who were gay—the most notable being Oscar Wilde. However, those of Wilde’s stories and plays which I had read up to that time had no pronounced gay characters and no especially gay message. (I had not yet read Wilde’s immensely moving letters including De Profundis[2]or any biographies of Wilde.)

So how did I begin? I picked up current gay fiction then being published—and re-read a few novels whose gay nuances I was less sensitive to when I first read them as an ostensibly heterosexual man. Authors of some substance writing in the 1930s onwards, such as James Baldwin and Christopher Isherwood, were interspersed with more recent writing often published by Gay Men’s Press and Peter Owen, two publishers specialising in gay literature, augmenting the slimmer gay lists from publishers such as Cape, Faber, Penguin, and Picador.

Books that were purchased at sale price from the local university book-shop and a few standard novels which I had read and which I believed properly belonged to a ‘canon’ of gay literature began to fill my personal shelves which, over a period of fifteen years, grew to include mostly fiction titles by gay authors or whose subject or characters were gay.

By 2000 I had gathered around three hundred gay books. I realised that I was unlikely to re-read many of the novels which formed the largest part, so I donated close to two hundred of them to the University of Otago Librarywhere there was an unfulfilled demand for such literature from students who identified as gay or who were questioning their sexuality. These books also supported the developing gender studies programmes at Otago. They have received very good use, easily justifying my placing them there.

Since then, I have delved further into gay literary biographies and appreciated rather more the value of holding supportive literature where fictional accounts might reflect something of the authors’ lives. I have replaced in my personal collection about fifteen of the titles I gave to the Library—no big deal in terms of the numbers and value given.

At the same time, I reassessed just where I was going with my personal collection. Apart from those works of fiction which would, I believed, stand the test of time I decided to move solidly into twentieth century, English-language, gay literary biography. There might seem to be enough qualifiers here to make the parameters fairly clear but the boundaries have been constantly tested and frequently breached.

This redefining of my collection was a major decision, marking a move from a largely recreational collection plus a few key ‘reference works’ to one which is much more focused and scholarly. I became determined to build a collection of substance which would allow me to detect any interconnections between the authors represented. The notion of ‘sleuthing’ was one which fascinated me. Had I not pursued librarianship as a career my next chosen profession would have been that of detective.

It should be noted that when I refer to ‘biographies’ throughout this paper I also include autobiographies, diaries, letters, and journals wherever they exist – so ‘biographies’ can be interpreted as (auto)biographical material.

Recognising the potential for a collection such as this to be eventually of interest to a research library, my preference has been to purchase hardbound and often first editions save for when a later edition is one which has been revised more than a little. Sometimes I will purchase a soft-cover edition because it is all I can find but if I subsequently find a hard-bound edition I will almost always purchase it. I then weed out the soft-cover one unless it has content not found in the hard-bound edition.

I have not especially sought out signed or dedicated volumes though when the price is reasonable and I chance upon such I will purchase them.

Currently I have close to one and a half thousand books in my gay literature collection. I am oftentimes taxed in deciding whether a book is worthy of being added. Before retiring from librarianship I more readily purchased some titles the like of which I now pass by. There are some books (very much a minority) which I no longer consider to be worthy of inclusion—not so much on account of their literary or scholarly merit being wanting as being on the periphery of my collection policy[3] and adding too little to the information contained in ‘core’ books which I own.

I like to see my collection as an organic whole—a living, breathing entity which can expand and embrace fresh authors and titles, especially where I find apposite connections with other authors and titles I have collected. There is also the ability to shrug off some unwanted cells if they have not earned their place.

And so there is a continuing gentle process of re-evaluation and discarding with some weeded items being donated to libraries and others being sent for sale in order to provide some modest funds for augmenting the collection with books more closely fitting my refined collecting parameters.I shall now address some of the issues which have arisen as I decide how best to develop the collection.

GayLit#1

GayLit#2

What makes a gay book—what makes an author able to be categorised as gay?

In terms of fiction the presence of gay content or gay characters, even if the author is not gay, ensures a place as long as the book is a well-regarded one. One instance of this is Mary Renault, a lesbian, whose first five novels included lesbian characters at least suggestively, but in whose last nine novels homosexuality was dealt with more openly.

Graham Greene’s May We Borrow Your Husband[4]—a deliciously amusing novella—is also included. Greene was a prodigiously heterosexually active man throughout his life. However, Michael Shelden, one of Greene’s biographers, while recognising this, also hints at some homosexual experiences and writes of Greene’s preoccupation with homosexuality in his fiction in Graham Greene: The Enemy Within[5]. This book deserves being read alongside Norman Sherry’s stunningly comprehensive three-volume biography of Greene[6].

Authors who identify as gay but whose work rarely deals with homosexuality, such as David Malouf, are generally represented comprehensively. I collect first editions of Malouf’s fiction. The same applies to Patrick White whose The Twyborn Affair[7] is his only novel where homosexuality is a significant theme.

There are, of course, other authors who are gay and whose work often includes gay characters and so their inclusion qualifies on two counts, such as Robert Ferro, Andrew Holleran, Alan Hollinghurst, David Leavitt, Armistead Maupin, Edmund White and so many more. This latter category forms the bulk of my collection of gay fiction.

In terms of biographies of writers who are gay the parameters are not always clear and I identify some of the issues below. I include selectively in my collection the biographies of ‘straight’ literary people where there are significant references to fellow authors who are gay. Thus Emlyn Williams’s autobiography George[8] has a place because it is in this volume that I have found the only (albeit brief) published English references to James Courage, a New Zealand born gay author who found New Zealand too hostile a society for gay people and so lived most of his life in England.

‘Foreign’ authors whose works are in English translation and are significant figures ‘owned’ by gays internationally.This is a category I first resisted including. I am no linguist so any works such as Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu[9] have to be read in translation, if at all. So far these dense—but I am assured profitable— volumes on my shelves have not been read, but some day they will be.

However, there is some gay literature which although written in other than the English language becomes part of the canon of gay literature and is referenced by others. Thus any collection purporting to be comprehensive, or at least solidly selective, would see such examples inside rather than outside.

I am thinking not only of the likes of Marcel Proust but also Yukio Mishima, Thomas Mann (whose work overflows with homoeroticism), and even Hermann Hesse. It is not that Hesse’s characters in Narcissus and Goldmund and Magister Ludiare gay but, as Jacob Stockinger states in his entry ‘Reading Across Orientations’in The Gay and Lesbian Literary Heritage[10], the “close male bonding” in the former and the “masterapprentice relationship” in the latter find a resonance for those responding eagerly to such suggestions.

Lesbian literature

Lesbian literature has a distinct character and these works are not collected save for when they form a part of anthologies such as Lavender Mansions: 40 Contemporary Lesbian and Gay Short Stories`[11], or Gay and Lesbian Poetry in Our Time`[12].

However, I do hold biographies of lesbian authors such as Mary Renault and Marguerite Yourcenar since they wrote about gay characters in their fiction. Yourcenar also wrote a fine short biography of the gay Japanese author Yukio Mishima which relates his life to his works[13].

This brings me to another point. I have been highly selective when considering gay poetry for inclusion. Of recent times any I have purchased have been for my role as civil union celebrant, since readings are commonly chosen for some part of these services as they are for many weddings[14].

The twentieth century—where does it begin for authors spanning two centuries?

Generally, where an author’s writing life bridges the nineteenth and twentieth centuries they have been included. Even though Oscar Wilde died in 1900 his seminal influence on twentieth century gay culture and literature has been so profound as to make it unthinkable for me to exclude him.

Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) has also been allowed a place simply because he is such a fascinating man even though he died before my stated period starts. (You can see how ill-disciplined I am.) But most other nineteenth century authors who were gay are not collected, even selectively. I am content that, in terms of the context needed for the twentieth century, information on their lives and works appears more briefly in works such as Strangers: Homosexual Love in the 19th Century[15] written by Graham Robb, a major biographer of Rimbaud.

The discreet nature of much writing and publication in the early years of the twentieth century.

Because homosexual behaviour was illegal until 1967in the United Kingdom and distinctly frowned upon (at least officially) by most of English society, quite a deal of gay literature in the first half of the twentieth century was covertly published and distributed and much has not survived. Pages Passed from Hand to Hand: The Hidden Tradition of Homosexual Literature in English from 1748 to 1914[16] edited by Mark Mitchell and David Leavitt provides a most valuable study to much of this material and is a fascinating study for any book collector.

This book is nicely complemented by Lost Gay Novels: A Reference Guide to Fifty Works from the First Half of the Twentieth Century[17] by Anthony Slide, which actually covers the period 1917 to 1950.

Bibliographies

Fifteen years ago when I was asked whether I was using a bibliography to guide the purchase of books for my personal collection I confessed that I wasn’t. Since then I have become aware of Gary Simes’ very useful Bibliography of Homosexuality: A Research Guide to the University of Sydney Library[18]. Simes introduced me to a number of authors I had not previously identified as gay which led to the further expansion of my collection.

It has been interesting to follow many of the leads provided in Simes’ bibliography and also to identify and purchase other titles which are complementary to the holdings of the University of Sydney Library, at least as they were at that time.

Gay pulp

As with other types of sexuality there has been substantial publishing of gay pulp. I have made no attempt to collect these works. Many of these pulp titles are scarce because of their commonly short print runs, the sometimes covert nature of their distribution, and the impermanent nature of their printing and binding. The authority on this genre is Michael Bronski, editor of the saucily named Pulp Friction: Uncovering the Golden Age of Gay Male Pulps [19].

Coming-out and coming-of-age stories

For the very most part these books, mostly written for the young adult and children’s market, have not been collected save for a few New Zealand titles and those which exist in anthologies. I have, however, the bibliographies and some lecture notes prepared by William Elderton, a New Zealand minister, teacher, librarian and assiduous collector of gay literature for whom this particular niche has been an important area for his teaching and research over several decades. Elderton, an alumnus of the University of Otago, has recently donated hundreds of gay titles (many of them relating to coming-out) to its University Library where they will provide a rich seam for research students.

The trend towards psychoanalysis of authors and the psychoanalytical interpretation of texts.

Over the past two decades there has been an increasing tendency amongst those studying gay literature (as in other literatures) to psychoanalyse the work of authors. In my area of interest the analysis most often relates to authors who may or may not have been gay in an attempt to “own” them and bring them into the gay stable. Some of this work seems more reputable than others and there are sometimes fierce debates about how authoritative or spurious the conclusions drawn are.

Herman Melville is commonly claimed as gay now because the interpretation of his work suggests close male bonding in Billy Budd, Moby Dick, and Pierre. As well, the overflowing sperm from the flukes of the sperm whale is regarded as a significant symbol for man as well as whale. However, Laurie Roberston-Lorant in Melville: A Biography[20] argues that it is not necessarily “overt, covert, or latent homosexuality” that Ishamel, Queequeg, Huck and Jim have in common but “transgressive paradigms of homosocial brotherhood.” The distinction between homosocial and homosexual is a very significant one to Roberston-Lorant. Others see the homosocial as being the physical tip of the almost inevitably homosexual iceberg.

To my mind the grading of homosexual, homosensual, and homosocial, will remain a blurred one for many writers, given the discretion with which they conducted their lives. This is particularly so where personal papers which might otherwise give some firmer evidence have been destroyed.

For many scholars and readers the jury will remain out on Henry James, Herman Melville and others about whose sexuality there has been some debate. But a number of scholars have drawn their firm conclusions for an intrinsic gay essence of these authors even if any such behaviour throughout these people’s lives was discreet rather than overt. They are included in my collection just because there is this ongoing debate, though I would not categorically classify them as gay writers.

The aesthetes

What a gentle term this is. Aesthete generally equates to homosexual in the latter part of the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth centuries. Oscar Wilde was the most famous of the aesthetes. Harold Acton even called his memoirs Memoirs of an Aesthete[21]. Ronald Firbank is also regarded as an aesthete. It seems that Firbank deliberately constructed a mythology to confuse his real life with the legend he happily created of himself—with assistance from others. His writing is high camp – not always easy reading. He merits inclusion in my collection however and in a sense it can be said that he is a forerunner of the brilliantly satirical team which produced ‘Beyond the Fringe’, only one of whom, Alan Bennett, is gay.

The ‘temporarily’ gay

I include in my collection authors who for a time in their adolescence and early adulthood expressed their gay natures but who went on to lead (largely or wholly) heterosexual lives, such as Evelyn Waugh and Stephen Spender, whose homoerotic novel The Temple[22]is certainly autobiographical. Originally written in 1929 The Temple was not published until 1988 when, significantly re-written, Spender called it “a complex of memory, fiction, and hindsight”. Spender’s life around this time has also been retold in T C Worsley’s Fellow Travellers[23] which is a fictionalised memoir of Spender and his close circle.

Gay artists—collaborating with authors

Selectively I have a modest collection of gay artists especially where they have collaborated with authors, as David Hockney and Stephen Spender did in their China Diary[24], and where a principal subject for the artist is the male figure whether clothed or unclothed. (At the time of the Chinese visit Spender was happily married.) The erotic works of Jean Cocteau and John Singer Sargeant are included alongside fairly generous selections of books about the life and works of Andy Warhol, David Hockney, and a range of other artists who have painted or drawn the male figure.

Gay actors—stage and screen

With very few exceptions I do not collect biographical material relating to gay actors. There are simply too many of them and were I to collect to the level that I have for gay writers the collection would quickly grow to three times the size, budget and space allowing. They don’t!

The impact of AIDS

The impact of AIDS from the early 1980s has had a profound effect on creative gay writing—fiction, poetry, play scripts and memoirs—as it has to a lesser extent the cinema. I have not comprehensively collected writing about the AIDS pandemic though I have a few memoirs which give accounts of caring for a gay partner with AIDS, some poems (e.g. Mark Doty) and a few books such as Randy Shilts’ And the Band Played On [25] which describes the appalling US government neglect of those with AIDS.

I do not want to immerse myself in a literature which can provide depressing reading even though at the same time it can provide stories of great courage, unconditional loving, stress too great for a partner to bear, and resignation to outcomes which a few years ago were more finite than they are now (at least in Western societies).

When Edmund White was in Paris researching and writing his award-winning biography of Jean Genet [26] which I regard as his outstanding achievement—perhaps a strange thing for a man whose reputation among many has largely been based on his semi-autobiographical novels— many American gay men thought he should forget Genet and turn instead to AIDS activism as they regarded Genet as irrelevant. White, however, saw Genet as an “enduringly significant presence”. There were plenty of other writers focusing on AIDS. It is hard to imagine another biography of Genet as fine as White’s is.

Australian and New Zealand gay writing

I thought I was collecting Australian gay fiction reasonably comprehensively until I read Michael Hurley’s A Guide to Gay and Lesbian Writing in Australia [27]. Significant missing items appear on my wants list but I will not attempt to collect these comprehensively.

In terms of New Zealand, my coverage is more comprehensive but still not complete. Authors who identify as gay are well represented but it is the gay characters in fiction written by authors of other sexualities which is oftentimes missing. A ‘wants list’ now accompanies me to second-hand bookshops around the country.

Graeme Aitken, James Courage, Witi Ihimaera, Frank Sargeson, Peter Wells, all gay authors, are comprehensively collected though I am still missing James Courage’s first novel One House which is most often missing from bibliographies of his writing though it was published by Gollancz. It is a rare item with only a sparse number of copies held in New Zealand’s research libraries.

Reflecting, rationalising, refining

The process of reflecting, rationalising and refining is a continuous one. In the past I have sometimes been too eager to grab something of minimal interest simply because it has been in my grasp and I have been able to buy it. On the other hand the frustration of having weighed an item and then left it in the shop only to reconsider a few hours or days later, and then to find that another buyer has purchased it, is a frustration known to many of us. It is better to buy, read, evaluate and then discard than to miss a possibly scarce item.

And the process is not always one of pruning back. The recent reading of Lawrence Jones’ essay in The Oxford History of New Zealand Literature[28] led me to the New Zealand fiction by other than gay authors referred to above.

One book which resulted in a significant expansion of my collection was Robert Aldrich’s The Seduction of the Mediterranean: Writing, Art and Homosexual Fantasy[29]. This is a stunning book which introduced me to the likes of Norman Douglas of South Wind fame and Compton Mackenzie’s fiction about gays and lesbians. Likewise Aldrich’s Colonialism and Homosexuality[30] opened other rich seams.

Second-hand bookshops—at home

For many years I sought to build the collection by visiting second-hand book stores both in New Zealand and overseas. In my chosen field the pickings are not particularly rich in New Zealand and especially in the city in which I live—Dunedin. My visits to larger cities in New Zealand needed always to allow plentiful time at second-hand and antiquarian book dealers. These were occasionally in the lively company of Australian university librarians when Australasian meetings were held here.

There was a time in Dunedin when on my frequent visits to ‘Scribes’, its best second-hand book shop, I found a steady supply of books which I was delighted to purchase. They were always in pristine condition. I then discovered that they were all from the same source—a local author who had bought them to research the background to his novels. He was weeding them so that he could afford to buy more books in order to provide reliable background for other books he wished to write. Sadly, after about five months this source dried up and only comparatively lean pickings have been available since that time but it provided a kind of halcyon time for me as far as that dealer was concerned.

A number of the titles I have purchased have been withdrawn from library collections. They were sold off as some libraries sought to contain their collections within existing walls. There have been some very unfortunate examples of fine books of enduring value being disposed of. The worst instance I heard of involved a second-hand book dealer being invited to weed the library’s stack collection himself and to take away what he could sell so that the existing purchasing funds (admittedly meagre) could be augmented.

It seems that the rash of withdrawing library stock has become much better managed in recent years following considerable public (and professional) disquiet but there is no doubting that private collectors had a field day for a time because of unwise decisions made by some librarians at the expense of future users of those libraries.

Now that I am retired and my days can be constructed more according to my own wishes I am able to go in person to rare book auctions and benefit hugely from the more favourable prices one is sometimes able to obtain at such venues.

Second-hand bookstores—abroad

My yearly visits to Australia have always brought much joy in terms of both serendipitous finds as well as those titles which were on my wants list. I have been grateful to Australian librarians who have steered me towards particularly good second-hand book dealers who deal in material in my collecting parameters.

My rare visits to the United Kingdom have seen me sometimes barely able to contain my excitement as I have found so many pertinent items. Large cartons have had to be expensively freighted home since their quantity has always been such that there would be no question of containing them within airline baggage allowances. The same has been true, to a lesser extent, in Australia, and on my last visit to Sydney three good-sized cartons were posted home in addition to books which were packed in the luggage of my partner and myself.

The Internet

Four years ago my then partner encouraged me to search on the Internet for items for which I had been searching for several years. I was soon hooked! The down-side was, of course, that with some exceptions the books were almost too readily found and one missed the pleasure of serendipitous finds as one moved one’s index finger along the edge of shelves in second-hand book shops. It was like casting one’s line into the river and pulling up a fat trout almost every time. In many instances one had plenty of choice, and rather than buying the only such title in a second-hand bookshop (provided it was tidy and complete) one could determine which represented best value for money as long as it was VG+/VG+ or better still F/F.

In this way a number of long-standing gaps have been filled, the most notable being James Courage’s The Fifth Child[31] and Desire Without Content[32]. By this means my holdings of Courage’s fiction have been almost completed save for the first title which is still outstanding. Other books such as Norman Douglas’ memoir Looking Back[33] and the unkindly titled Brian Howard: Portrait of a Failure[34] were found on the Internet after years of searching second-hand book dealers here and overseas, though curiously the latter was from a second-hand book dealer north of Auckland.

There remain some titles which are hard-to-find, in spite of registering that a particular title is wanted so that the dealer can alert me immediately one comes up for sale. The last instance of this occurred only three weeks ago when I had been away from my computer for only four hours. By the time I read the message that the title had become available it had been purchased by another buyer.

A gay literary biography project

I am sometimes asked what use I will make of my collection apart from reading it and writing reviews of newly published titles, always with reference to earlier titles with which they can be associated.

I have in mind writing a guide to gay literary biographies of the twentieth century but whether it will be a highly structured and cross-referenced index or a series of essays, I have not yet come to a firm conclusion.

Housing the collection

Two years ago I realised that the housing of the collection was a major element in my accommodation re-planning. After much discussion with an architect we realised that the easiest and best solution would be to build a separate library/study on the property rather than attempt to integrate it into the house proper. I already have a fine artist’s studio in a separate building on the property so there was no reason why a third building would not work as well.

The new library/study was completed two weeks before I retired. It provides an excellent solution housing my gay-lit collection, reference tools, and my collection of gardening books. It also provides a work-station, office desk, some relaxed seating for entertaining guests on occasion, and part of my collection of (mostly) New Zealand ceramics. It is my first port of call after breakfasting each day.

The floor, walls and ceiling are insulated to the very best standards and windows and French doors are double-glazed thus providing a better environment for its contents than the main house does for my other collections. The walls are lined with bookshelves, offering some modest expansion still but also signalling that if the collection is to expand a great deal further then I will need to weed some more. This I see as a healthy and prudent constraint.

The separate building allows me to move across the back lawn from the house, on the way taking delight in the garden, the strawberry and rose beds and the glass house and observing the condition of fruit in the orchard. It is ideal in every way.

Where is the collection bound?

At this stage I intend that my collection will be destined for a research library somewhere in Australasia. My preference would be for it to go to an academic library. There is a dilemma between it being offered to the University of Otago Library, where I was University Librarian for 18 years, to build on the gay titles I have already donated, or to an institution such as the University of Sydney Library which already has strong gay holdings and which quite a deal of my collection complements nicely.

I have no doubt that I will continue to wrestle with these options over time. Meantime the important thing is for me to work on the collection that I own, to continue to build it wisely, to mine its depths and to make connections in order to benefit those interested and to keep my brain in good repair.

GayLit#3

Footnotes

1 Hollinghurst, Alan. The Line of Beauty. (London, Picador, 2004).

2 The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde, edited by Merlin Holland and RupertHart-Davis. (New York, Henry Holt, 2000) pp. 683-780.

3 ‘Collection policy’ is probably too grand for something which exists only in my head and which can be expanded by a particularly delicious serendipitous find which leads me to a new nodule of collecting and an expansion of ‘core’ yet again.

4 Greene, Graham. May We Borrow Your Husband? And Other Comedies of the Sexual Life. (London, Bodley, 1967).

5 Shelden, Michael. Graham Greene: The Enemy Within. (New York, Random House, 1994).

6 Sherry, Norman. The Life of Graham Greene. Volume One: 1904-1939. (London, Cape, 1989); Volume Two: 1939-1955. (New York, Viking, 1995); Volume Three: 1955-1991. (London, Cape, 2004).

7 White, Patrick. The Twyborn Affair. (London, Cape, 1979).

8 Williams, Emlyn. George: An Early Autobiography. (London, The ReprintSociety, 1962).

9 Proust, Marcel. Remembrance of Things Past. (London, Chatto & Windus,1981).

10 The Gay and Lesbian Literary Heritage: A Readers’ Companion to the Writers and Their Works, from Antiquity to the Present, ed. Claude J Summers. (New York, Henry Holt, 1995).

11 Lavender Mansions: 40 Contemporary Lesbian and Gay Short Stories. ed. Irene Zahava. (Boulder, Westview Press, 1994).

12 Gay & Lesbian Poetry in Our Time: An Anthology. ed. Carl Morse and Joan Larkin. (New York, St Martin’s Press, 1988).

13 Yourcenar, Marguerite. Mishima: A Vision of the Void.  trans. Alberto Manguel. (New York, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1986)

14 In New Zealand, since 2005, same sex couples (and others) have been able to legally formalize their relationship by entering a Civil Union which gives them the rights and responsibilities of married couples.

15 Robb, Graham. Strangers: Homosexual Love in the 19th Century. (London, Picador, 2003).

16 Pages Passed from Hand to Hand: the Hidden Tradition of Homosexual Literature in English from 1748 to 1914, ed. Mark Mitchell and David Leavitt. (London, Chatto & Windus, 1998).

17 Slide, Anthony. Lost Gay Novels: A Reference Guide to Fifty Works from the First Half of the Twentieth Century. (New York, Harrington Park, 2003).

18 Simes, Gary. Bibliography of Homosexuality: A Research Guide to the University of Sydney Library. (Sydney, The University of Sydney Library/The Australian Centre for Lesbian and Gay Research, 1998).

19 Bronski, Michael, ed. Pulp Friction: Uncovering the Golden Age of Gay Male Pulps. (New York, St Martins Griffin, 2003).

20 Robertson-Lorant, Laurie. Melville: A Biography. (New York, Clarkson Potter, 1996).

21 Acton, Harold. Memoirs of an Aesthete 1904-1938. (London, Methuen, 1948) and Memoirs of an Aesthete 1939-1969. (New York, Viking, 1971). 22 Spender, Stephen. The Temple. (London, Faber, 1988).

23 Worsley, T.C. Fellow Travellers. (London, Gay Men’s Press, 1971).

24 Spender, Stephen and David Hockney. China Diary. (New York, Abrams, 1982).

25 Shilts, Randy. And The Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic. (New York, St Martin’s Press, 1987).

26 White, Edmund. Genet. With a chronology by Albert Dichy. (London, Chatto & Windus, 1993)

27 Hurley, Michael. A Guide to Gay and Lesbian Writing in Australia.  (Sydney, Allen and Unwin/Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives, 1996).

28 Jones, Lawrence. ‘The Novel’ [in] The Oxford History of New Zealand Literature in English, ed. Terry Sturm. (Auckland, OUP, 1998). 2nd ed. pp. 119-244.

29 Aldrich, Robert. The Seduction of the Mediterranean: Writing, Art and Homosexual Fantasy. (London, Routledge, 1993).

30 Aldrich, Robert. Colonialism and Homosexuality. (London, Routledge, 2003).

31 Courage, James. The Fifth Child. (London, Constable, 1948).

32 Courage, James. Desire Without Content. (London, Constable, 1950).

33 Douglas, Norman. Looking Back: An Autobiographical Excursion. (London, Chatto, 1934).

34 Brian Howard: Portrait of a Failure. ed. Marie-Jaqueline Lancaster. (London, Blond, 1968).

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