Friday, August 12, 2022

Conflict by Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson

Conflict (c.1926-27) Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson (English, 1889-1946) Drypoint, printed in red 34.9 x 26.1 cm. Victoria & Albert Museum
Conflict (c.1926-27)
Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson (English, 1889-1946)
Drypoint, printed in red
34.9 x 26.1 cm.
Victoria & Albert Museum

 

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Behind the Mirror by Robin Maugham

Behind the Mirror by Robin Maugham ; London : Longmans, 1955 Jacket design: John Minton
London : Longmans, 1955
Jacket design: John Minton
David Brent is a screenwriter for a film company based in London. The latest project about the life of Daphne Moore, a famous actress from the 1920s, has hit a snag. Norman Hartleigh, a former diplomat who was deeply involved with Daphne has ignored all correspondence from the firm regarding permission to depict him in the film. David journeys to Tanganyika (a British colonial territory that now makes up a portion of Tanzania) to secure Hartleigh's blessing.

Although it covers a significant amount of land, the fictional Aruna feels like a small town where rumors fly and everyone believes they know what everyone else is doing. Hartleigh is ostracized by the other residents for what they perceive as an inappropriate relationship with the young man, Bill Wayne, who lives with him. The colonists see the local residents as servants, not as equals so when Hartleigh moves an African girl into his home it creates another set of concerns for them.

While David negotiates permission from Hartleigh for the film, rumors are confirmed and secrets are revealed, endangering everyone. Hartleigh eventually reveals the truth of his relationship with Daphne Moore and their falling out, upending everything David thought he knew.



Bibliographies & Ratings: Cory (III); Garde (OTP, **); Mattachine Review (III); Young (2559/2560)



Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Matelot accoudé by Frans Masreel

Matelot accoudé (1929) Frans Masreel (Flemish, 1889-1972) Oil on canvas 100 x 81 cm
Matelot accoudé (1929)
Frans Masreel (Flemish, 1889-1972)
Oil on canvas
100 x 81 cm

 

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)