sage's Reviews > Love Stories: Sex between Men before Homosexuality

Love Stories by Jonathan Ned Katz
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Jan 21, 09

bookshelves: queer-interest, nonfiction, memoir-bio-diary, reviewed, poetry, history
Read in January, 2009

** spoiler alert ** The scholarship is somewhat less than awesome, and he's terribly long-winded about his argument, but the real value of Katz's book is in the collection of 19th century primary source material (letters, news articles, testimony, etc.) on/from/between people he terms "men-loving men" (as homosexuality as the sociological construct we understand today didn't exist yet). I kind of wish the book were more about 19th century male/male eros and less about linguistics issues (i.e. the freedom to name an unspeakable act), but that lack of freedom to do so makes finding primary sources near impossible...so yeah, catch-22. Definitely a fascinating look at 19th century m/m love.

* The poetry tag is included due to over half the book focusing on Walt Whitman, his work, his letters, and his sex life. (Walt's archives are huge.)
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