Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade
Drawn from the secret, never-before-seen diaries, journals, and sexual records of the novelist, poet, and university professor Samuel M. Steward, The Secret Historian is a sensational reconstruction of one of the more extraordinary hidden lives of the twentieth century. An intimate friend of Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, and Thornton Wilder, Steward maintained a secret...more
Not m ...more
'whatever his previous failures as a literary novelist and man of letters, he might yet establish himself as a brilliant writer of homosexual smut.'
--and giggled to myself as I thought, 'That's what I want to do when I grow up!'
Samuel Steward was a fascinating man. It boggles the mind that his life could have stayed an obscure footnote in the biographies of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Tolkas or appe ...more
Reading SECRET HISTORIAN: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SAMUEL STEWARD, PROFESSOR, TATTOO ARTISTS, AND SEXUAL RENEGADE it is difficult to decide which is the more important - learning about a rather phenomenal man (Samuel Steward) whose life to date has been a well-guarded secret, or discovering one of the finest biographers writing today - Justin Spring. Spring is a seasoned biographer whose publications include 'Paul Cadmus: The Male Nude', 'Fairfield Porter: A Life ...more
An introvert English professor by day, sexual renegade by night, Steward was an intimate friend of Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, and Thornton Wilder. He also claims to have had sexual relations with a number of famous, or soon-to-be-famous, men, including Rudolph Valentino and ...more
I am a fan of the gay history and experience, and for that this is a laudable record by Justin Spring of Sam Steward's life (aka Phil Sparrow-tattoo artist, Phil Andros-porn author), just as Steward's own writings were a unique and valuable documentation of his sex life and fantasies.
Spring's work is well-researched. While covering now familiar ground about the gay experience in the early to mid-1900's, this account of one "homosexu ...more
Justin Spring does a great job of letting Samuel Steward speak for himself through his letters and writings. I'm glad he does: Steward is a brilliant writer: witty, imaginative, erudite and far-reaching in his interests and his network of friends. HIs dedication to sex and sex-recording is fascinating and provided Dr. Kinsey with a wealth of information that continues to have an impact on our culture tod ...more
The reason I ...more
This is a meticulously crafted look at an extraordinary man, who history had seemed to forgotten. His story is both affirming and tragic. A definite must for those interested in the hidden life history of the educated gay male , beginning in the early ...more
Very sad too. Samuel Steward did not lead a very happy life.
It’s difficult to know what to say about Secret Historian by Justin Spring [Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2010]. It is the type of story that overwhelms while you’re reading it, and stays with you long after you set it down. Moreover, while I liked and admired Justin Spring’s writing, and the nostalgic look at the twentieth century, I disliked the principal character, Samuel Steward, as being disturbingly egocentric and self-serving.
Having said ...more
This is a carefully researched book and an interesting one. Steward's many-faceted life (friend of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas; Kinsey contributor; tattooist to t ...more
In other words, we know not only ...more