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

Love Stories by Jonathan Ned Katz
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's review
Jan 21, 2009

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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 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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