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27 June 2024

Three books – expected but never arrived

 All writers have plans that do not pan out, but readers, who enjoyed/appreciated the early book, do have a pang of regret that the promised second volume has never appeared – not even after a quarter-century. 

These three books in very different ways dominated the discussions of gay and trans history over that period, and were much appreciated.

  • Camille Paglia. Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson. 1990.

“The first volume of Sexual Personae examines antiquity, the Renaissance, and Romanticism from the late eighteenth century to 1900. I demonstrate that Romanticism turns almost immediately into Decadence, which I find throughout major nineteenth-century authors, even Emily Dickinson. The second volume will show how movies, television, sports, and rock music embody all the pagan themes of classical antiquity. My approach throughout the book combines disciplines: literature, art history, psychology, and religion.” (p xiii)

  • George Chaucey. Gay New York: Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940. 1994.

“Thus the dangers gay men faced increased rapidly in the postwar decades, even as the cultural boundaries of their world were changing. I take up the reconfiguration of the boundaries between queer and normal men, the reshaping of the gay world and the transformation of its public image, and the shifting modes of gay resistance in my next book, The Making of the Modern Gay World, 1935–1975, currently in progress.” (p 360-1)

  • Randolph Trumbach. Sex and the Gender Revolution, Volume 1: Heterosexuality and the Third Gender in Enlightenment London. 1998,

The expectation is in the title: Volume I implies a volume II, and also:

“The lives of these sodomites (and of the sapphists after 1770) have been described recently by myself and by other historians, and I mean in the second volume of this study to present a full analysis of London’s sodomites and sapphists”. (p 3) and

“These are the uncertainties that remain in constructing the history of sexual behavior and its relation to gender in the first century of the modern Western world’s existence. I hope that others will take them up, and I mean to pursue them myself in a succeeding volume on the history of sodomites and sapphists and the origins of modern Western homosexuality.” (p 430)

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