Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Aubade by Kenneth Martin

Aubade by Kenneth Martin ; London : Chapman & Hall, 1957
London : Chapman & Hall, 1957
Aubade is a heartfelt coming of age novel written when the author was just sixteen. Paul Anderson has just finished school and has taken a job at a tobacconist's shop for the summer before beginning university. His mother is insisting that he attend university although Paul really doesn't know what he wants to do. He spends some time with friends but often quarrels with them. He is lonely and seems to prefer his own company. 

One day, the young man Paul has named Gary (we later find that his name is John Knight) enters the tobacco shop. Paul had noticed him in church sometime earlier and had thought about what it might be like to be friends with him. Those overwhelming feelings of wanting to spend time with him initially go unclassified, but when they do start spending time together it begins to be clear there is mutual feeling and also what those feelings mean. The battle between one's own feelings and desires versus what one's parents or society expects is ever present as is a pervasive loneliness.

The writing is straightforward, almost blunt. It is easy to judge the authorial skill based on the author's age. To do so, though, would be unfair. The straightforward style is in keeping with Paul's desire to keep people at a distance. Many of the things he says are harsh and in many ways they serve to insure that he will remain lonely. He even says at one point that there is joy in misery. Early on in the novel, the author uses the poem, Black Marigolds, foreshadowing  the feelings of sadness related to remembering a first love. Later in the novel, Paul says he "want[s] to remember Gary, and be sad, always."

Black Marigolds is a poem originally written in Sanskrit a portion of which appeared in John Steinbeck's Cannery Row.

Bibliographies & Ratings: Cory (IV); Garde (Primary, **); Mattachine Review (IV); Young (2539,*)

Bibliographies & Ratings II: Gunn (British 59a)

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Playwright Christopher Adams to Adapt Screenplay for Undiscovered LGBTQ Classic ‘Finistère’

Christopher Adams
Christopher Adams


Playwright Christopher Adams to Adapt Screenplay for Undiscovered LGBTQ Classic ‘Finistère’

By Matt Donnelly
Variety : April 20, 2022 12:52pm PT


"Playwright Christopher Adams has been tapped to pen a screenplay based on the novel “Finistère.” While not widely known, the novel is a groundbreaking early tale of a gay man who falls in love with his tennis instructor at a French boarding school in the 1920s. It was written by Fritz Peters, whose entire catalogue was recently acquired by Hirsch Giovanni Entertainment. ... Adams is a noted English playwright who recently adapted the limited series “Aubade” for FilmNation. That series is based on a controversial 1957 queer Northern Irish novel [by Kenneth Martin]."

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

David by Eric Gill

David (1926) Eric Gill (English, 1882-1940) Intaglio print on paper 111 x 70 mm The Tate
David (1926)
Eric Gill (English, 1882-1940)
Intaglio print on paper
111 x 70 mm
The Tate

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Leopard in the Grass by Desmond Stewart

Leopard in the Grass by Desmond Stewart ; London : Euphorion, 1951
London : Euphorion, 1951
The setting for Leopard in the Grass is Cyropolis, Media in the years after the second World War. The British have relinquished control of the Middle-Eastern country to the native peoples but still have a significant presence in business and industry. 

John Stirling, a young British archaeologist has arrived in Cyropolis with the intention of working for the local government on archaeological digs. The locals however, think of an archaeologist as the thinnest euphemism for British agent.

John meets Sophie Abbas, a Jewish divorcée returning home from the United States and they quickly fall into a sexual relationship. While Sophie is looking for a relationship, John seems to enjoy the sex for what it is but isn't interested in attachment. Instead, he often thinks of the relationships he had with other boys during his school days. 

Owing to Britain's former colonization of the area, British citizens living in Cyropolis continue to hang together within their own enclave and within their own clubs. It becomes clear to John that he is expected to follow along.

When John finds himself in the middle of a political demonstration on the streets of Cyropolis, he is rescued by a young local and brought to his employer's car. John becomes friends with Q, the gay British artist who saved him. Q hasn't joined with the others in their clubs and has been ostracized because they believe he has 'gone native.' To be clear, it isn't the fact that Q is gay that is a problem for the other British citizens, for there are others who are as well, but it's his embrace of the local culture that seems to be the issue.

When Nimr, a Bedouin man who Q took in as a child (and seems to have had a sexual relationship with), returns after having been dismissed by Q in favor of a younger choice, Q, Sophie, and John find themselves in the middle of a drama that is both personal and illuminates the terrible consequences of colonialism.

Bibliographies & Ratings: Cory (III); Garde (OTP, a**); Mattachine Review (III); Young (3645)

Bibliographies & Ratings II: Gunn (British 45a)

Monday, April 4, 2022

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Riding by H. S. Cross

Riding by H. S. Cross ; New York : Fox Books, 2008
New York : Fox Books, 2008

As mentioned in an earlier post, Riding by H.S. Cross is an early version or draft of her novel, Grievous (2019). While Grievous tightens up the story and improves the writing, some of the original structure of Riding is unfortunately lost. The major headings of Lent, Easter, St. Stephen's (appearing at Trinity in Grievous), Summer, Michaelmas, and Christmas remain. The individual chapter titles have been dropped in favor of simple numbering. A nod to early boy's school fiction, the chapter titles suggest what is to happen in each chapter. Many early boy's school novels were originally issued serially in publications directed to school age boys and the individual chapter titles may be an artifact of this publication process. 

Below is the original table of contents from Riding. Grievous, has 57 chapters in six sections. Riding also has six sections but is comprised of 95 chapters and issued in two volumes. 

Riding : a novel, volume 1

ISBN: 978-0-6152-1366-8 — Fox Books 2008, 513p


They Longed for the Sheltering Sky
There Was a Book
Mr. Grieves Is Not Amused
Something to Remember
She Envied Her Own Pens
The Propagation of Knowledge
Forgive Our Foolish Ways
Eels, the West Wind, and People Like Us
The Boredom Is No Longer Exquisite
Why Does He Deserve It?
Friend Indeed
The Trial
Perfect Gifts
The Tower
The Doctor is In
That Hideous Recognition
The Chair Loft
Souls of Men


The Channel
The Key
Mazes, Continental and Otherwise
The Weapons of Pacifists
Quicksand, With Beacons

St. Stephen's

Winds of Change
I Write This Not to the Many, but to You
Code That Sets the Miles at Naught
Heartbeat, Heartburn, Heart Attack, Heartbreak
Pursuits, Intellectual and Otherwise
The Persistence of Memory
Orders of Magnitude
Patron's Day
The Exigencies of Time
The Cure
In Which the Geomaniac Ventures, and Is Lost

Riding : a novel, volume 2

ISBN: 978-0-615-26248-2 — Fox Books 2008, 550p


To Wake, as if From Dreaming
Messages, Direct and Indirect
The Quick and the Dead
Nothing Shall Be Impossible
The Lady From the Sea


Rank by Rank
A World Gone Mad
Something in Their Midst
Hounded by His Adversary
Lamentation of Swans
Chariot of Fire
The Contract
Hypnos and Son
Crime and Punishment
The Passage of Time Vexed Them
The Encircling Gloom
Orders of Magnitude, II
The Pillar of the Cloud
The World as We Know It
The World as It Has Known Itself
This Howling Insanity
An Approximation of the Moon
Night, II
Another Gift
The Ninety-Second Day of Michaelmas Term
Keeper of a Hundred Secrets
A Kind of Mercy
The Coming Storm
As Bad as All That
What Girls Are Made Of
The Most Brutal of Punishments
Unfamiliar Sun
Christmas Tea


The Future
The Present
The Past
Like the Wildness of the Sea
The Winters of Your Grief
And Christmas Comes Once More

Monday, February 28, 2022

Swimmer by John La Farge

Swimmer (1866) John La Farge (American, 1835-1910) Watercolor 32.5 × 28.2 cm (12 13/16 × 11 1/8 in.) Yale University Art Gallery
Swimmer (1866)
John La Farge (American, 1835-1910)
32.5 × 28.2 cm (12 13/16 × 11 1/8 in.)
Yale University Art Gallery