I wrote a long analysis of the delightful, sadly forgotten Going Somewhere on my blog Queer Modernisms, which can be found here.
An excerpt: "Max EwingI wrote a long analysis of the delightful, sadly forgotten Going Somewhere on my blog Queer Modernisms, which can be found here.
An excerpt: "Max Ewing’s effervescent Going Somewhere, as fizzy as the champagne that had been newly (re)legalized the year of its publication, is primarily remembered today as one of a handful of novels published in the publication industry’s efforts to capitalize on the “Pansy Craze” of the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. The placement of Ewing’s text within this category can considered something of a historical coincidence, however, as the text deals directly with queer subject matter only in several brief, ultimately fleeting passages, something in marked contrast to other “Pansy Craze” novels, almost all which uniformly foreground queer characters and/or experiences.
Rather, in style, content, and tone, the novel is much more in line with the type of breezy high-society romps that Carl Van Vechten specialized in throughout the 1920’s. Van Vechten’s novels are themselves endlessly queer affairs, of course, though more in regards to sensibility and milieu than in regards to any type of sustained reference or focus on queer individuals or behaviors. Going Somewhere employs a similar approach, which is no surprise since Van Vechten was Ewing’s mentor and close friend."
Historical interest and the possibility to glimpse pre-Stonewall queer lives and mores overrides any literary merit (which is meager, to say the veryHistorical interest and the possibility to glimpse pre-Stonewall queer lives and mores overrides any literary merit (which is meager, to say the very least). ...more
Over the years I've come to realize that my first encounter with "Babylon Revisited" is a crucial reason why I've developed a tendency toward preemptiOver the years I've come to realize that my first encounter with "Babylon Revisited" is a crucial reason why I've developed a tendency toward preemptive nostalgia. Even at the moments I'm most blissfully content there's a part of my mind always already mourning the fact any present happiness is destined to quickly slip into the past tense. This line in particular has emblazoned itself into my memory, and still makes me shiver: "I didn't realize it, but the days came along one after another, and then two years were gone, and everything was gone, and I was gone." What's to ever guarantee that more good times are ahead?
I actually first read Fitzgerald's celebrated short story during one of the most sustained stretches of happiness I've ever experienced. I was an American student studying in London, my first time away from home for an extended period of time, and I was relishing every minute of it. This story was assigned for a class on expatriate American writers I was taking, and I distinctly remember a startling sensation of imagining myself returning at some point in the future to the large, warmly sunlit sitting room I often and was at that moment reading in, and ruefully recalling how truly wonderful that exact moment was, and how was it possible I didn't manage to recognize it at the time? "Babylon Revisited" haunted the rest of my semester—in a good, productive way, I should note—and, really, ever since.
At his best Fitzgerald composed prose that sparkles like so many diamonds upon the page. But here the crystalline phrasing not only glitters—it lacerates too.