John Horne Burns

in Andover, Massachusetts, The United States
October 07, 1916

August 11, 1953



John Horne Burns was a United States author. He is best known as the author of the 1947 story-cycle The Gallery, which depicts life in Allied-occupied Naples, Italy, in 1944 from the perspective of several different characters. In this work he explores the themes of material and class inequality, alcoholism, relations between the sexes, and sexuality in general, including homosexuality, with the encounter between American and Neapolitan culture as a general thematic backdrop. The "Gallery" referred to is the Galleria Umberto I in down-town Naples.

Burns's works often feature homosexual themes, and he is known as a gay novelist. As recorded by his contemporary Gore Vidal, Burns said that "to be a good writer, one must be homosexual, perhaps

Average rating: 3.97 · 348 ratings · 87 reviews · 3 distinct worksSimilar authors
The Gallery

really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 332 ratings — published 1947 — 12 editions
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Lucifer with a Book

3.54 avg rating — 13 ratings — published 1949 — 2 editions
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A Cry of Children

3.33 avg rating — 3 ratings — published 1952 — 3 editions
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“To be a good writer, one must be homosexual.”
John Horne Burns

“Education, boy, is not something to prepare you for life. That is a vulgar American error.… It's something to take you out of life.”
John Horne Burns, Lucifer with a Book

“He relished learning from the voice of a teacher and from books. Each day of merely learning something was a deep adventure to him. Sometimes he laughed and told himself that he was unnatural, for American boys are supposed to hate school. They followed a pattern of Redblooded Masculinity, set up by the traditions of hookey and Mark Twain. But he had no resistance whatever to his studies. He took them supine and with gusto, with the receptively of a girl whose desires have been aroused by loving blandishment.”
John Horne Burns, Lucifer with a Book

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