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Love Stories: Sex between Men before Homosexuality

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  112 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
In Love Stories, Jonathan Ned Katz presents stories of men's intimacies with men during the nineteenth century—including those of Abraham Lincoln—drawing flesh-and-blood portraits of intimate friendships and the ways in which men struggled to name, define, and defend their sexual feelings for one another. In a world before "gay" and "straight" referred to sexuality, men li ...more
Paperback, 440 pages
Published June 15th 2003 by University Of Chicago Press (first published 2001)
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Joey Diamond
Jul 19, 2011 Joey Diamond rated it it was amazing
Damn this is a well researched and written piece o history. So different to the usual ahistorical gay history stuff. Katz writes a lot about why people shouldn't be "reclaimed" by gay history, they should be researched and appreciated in their own historic context.

I learned a shit tonne about 19th Century ideas about love and sex and how extremely different they are to our own. Solid support for my dislike of people projecting homosexuality and other 20th C ideas backwards.

There is a bit too muc
Jan 06, 2010 Karky rated it really liked it
Great insight on how men-loving men struggled for wording to properly express their desires and emotions in a more positive light than society would allow at the time. Katz was careful to stress the difference of what was acceptable in society then and now when it came to the affection between men and/or their behavior. It served as a helpful reminder of what these men were saying in their original context rather than how it may sound in respect to today's thinking. I very much appreciated his c ...more
Apr 02, 2011 Tyler rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2010
I was surprised by how many of these stories I didn't know. I appreciated the author's carefulness in the way he described the relationships, not placing modern ideas of homosexuality on the men. The writing style might be a little dry for some, but if you're interested in the topic, I'd recommend it.
Nov 18, 2016 Keith rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gay-history
I definitely learned an immense amount from this book about men loving men. Before being assigned the label of Homosexuality and the unfortunate negative connotations that comes with that label.

This book opens up with Abraham Lincoln arrival in Springfield, IL in 1837 who mets Joshua Fry Speed, who offered the new legistator half of his double bed. The 2 shared that bed for more than 3 years, and Speed would later recall that "no 2 men were ever more intimate". Katz in this book presents to the
Mar 27, 2013 Susan rated it really liked it
Shelves: 900
So it's quite apropos that I finished this as the Supreme Court is deliberating on the legality of same-sex marriage. The arguments that marriage consecrates a reproductive union kind of echo Katz's theory that non-reproductive sex was in many ways invisible during the 19th century (except for "the crime that Christians dare not name").

Katz's focus on trying to understand the Victorian mindset without putting current sensibilities into play reminded me of Women of the Mito Domain. Yamakawa, wri
Sep 28, 2015 Aidan rated it did not like it
While some of the historical details in this book are fascinating, the author's writing is dry and tedious, and he is repetitive more often than not. At times there are gaps, as if he had already explained something, but really hadn't even broached the subject, and you are left wondering at the discontinuity and confusion between characters and events in the book. And then he keeps repeating himself on other things that he had already previously mentioned, on several occasions even, as if that w ...more
Kate McMurray
Feb 13, 2012 Kate McMurray rated it really liked it
Really fascinating look at sexuality in the nineteenth century. The book is ostensibly about men desiring sex with men, but it speaks to sexuality more broadly, particularly the disconnect in the minds of many Victorians between sex and love. The book follows a progression from close male friendships with homosocial elements to more explicit sex, but I'm not sure it quite makes it far enough to demonstrate that men in the nineteenth century ever fully connected sex and romantic love in the way w ...more
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Mar 30, 2008 Melissa rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-stuff
Pretty good--I've always had an interest in the history of sexuality, and I find homosexuality particularly interesting because it's one of those things that was happening before there were words to express what was happening. I also learned a lot about Walt Whitman.
Gerry Burnie
Nov 30, 2013 Gerry Burnie rated it it was amazing
Another milestone from the dean of gay history in North America.

See my full review at Gerry B's Book Reviews
Mar 04, 2013 Dan rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, lgbt, history
The product of careful and exhaustive research and documentation, this is a well written history that is insightful and highly readable without being pedantic. Most enjoyable.
Jul 02, 2008 Gabe rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. Heartbreaking. Eye-Opening. PICK-THIS-UP....Lincoln lovers will be in for a real treat!
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