Homintern How Gay Culture Liberated the Modern World Gregory Woods

Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
08 Apr 2016
ISBN:
9780300218039
Dimensions:
440 pages: 235 x 156 x 36mm
Illustrations:
24 b/w illus.

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In a hugely ambitious study which crosses continents, languages, and almost a century, Gregory Woods identifies the ways in which homosexuality has helped shape Western culture. Extending from the trials of Oscar Wilde to the gay liberation era, this book examines a period in which increased visibility made acceptance of homosexuality one of the measures of modernity.
Woods shines a revealing light on the diverse, informal networks of gay people in the arts and other creative fields. Uneasily called "the Homintern" (an echo of Lenin's "Comintern") by those suspicious of an international homosexual conspiracy, such networks connected gay writers, actors, artists, musicians, dancers, filmmakers, politicians, and spies. While providing some defense against dominant heterosexual exclusion, the grouping brought solidarity, celebrated talent, and, in doing so, invigorated the majority culture.
Woods introduces an enormous cast of gifted and extraordinary characters, most of them operating with surprising openness; but also explores such issues as artistic influence, the coping strategies of minorities, the hypocrisies of conservatism, and the effects of positive and negative discrimination. Traveling from Harlem in the 1910s to 1920s Paris, 1930s Berlin, 1950s New York and beyond, this sharply observed, warm-spirited book presents a surpassing portrait of twentieth-century gay culture and the men and women who both redefined themselves and changed history.

More about this title


Gregory Woods was appointed to Britain's first chair in Gay and Lesbian Studies by Nottingham Trent University in 1998. He lives in Nottingham, UK.

"Woods is a born storyteller, and he tells the story of the interlocking, international gay and lesbian networks in an unflaggingly lively way. This is a book that needs to be published."—David Bergman, author of The Violet Hour and Gay American Autobiography: Writings from Whitman to Sedaris
"A well-researched, compelling study of how countless gay men have affected, influenced, and restructured the cultural climate for more than 100 years. . . . An information-heavy book that provides a wonderful resource for those interested in learning about the rise of gay poetics at the onset of the 20th century."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"Woods regales the reader with an avalanche of stories, ribald gossip, and lengthy asides that collectively confirm the book’s central thesis: gay culture, or at least gays and lesbians, did indeed liberate the modern world." — Brian Kenney, Booklist
“Woods’ history of the ‘homintern’ is in turn hilarious and horrifying… documents shocking levels of persecution. Homophobia was pervasive and vicious… But this is not a gloomy book. Woods lovingly presents a range of gloriously outrageous gay and lesbian individuals and couples.”—Joanna Bourke, BBC History
“Wood’s is a knowledgeable and entertaining guide.” —Caleb Crain, the Guardian