Homosexuality in literature

Homosexuality in literature

My mind did stray, loving with hot desire . . .
Was not or he or she dearer to me than sight?

Does it really matter that a good work of art contains homosexual ideas when our society is happy to benefit from outstanding gay writers and artists and musicians, and then has the impertinence to evade the issue of what desire motivates their work. When people say it really doesn't matter whether or not some great artist or hero was homosexual they have this in mind that what they had created is important and these geniuses can have any such habit in their personal lives.

If any particular genre can be called a homosexual genre, the evidence would point most convincingly to the pastoral tradition - from Theocritus' Idylls to the chapter entitled "Bee and Orchid" in Marcel Proust's Cities of the Plain, from Walt Whitman's Calamus Leaves to A. E. Housman's Shropshire Lad, from Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn to Richard Amory's underground pulp novel Song of the Loon, from Gerard Manley Hopkins' ballads on boys bathing to Sanford Friedman's Totempole, from all the Greek poets' praise of boys in the gymnasia to all the flashbacks to adolescent experience in Boy Scout camps in American gay fiction in the 1960s. In its origins, homosexual love was an integral part of the pastoral tradition.

Seven of the thirty idylls completed by Theocritus are essentially homoerotic: in the fifth idyll two shepherds good- naturedly accuse each other of pederasty (one accusing the other of anal rape in the bushes), using colloquial expressions that are "obscene" enough to be printed in Latin in some modern English translations from the Greek (a notorious pedantic practice that makes merely vulgar passages seem especially wicked - and easier to locate); in the seventh idyll Aratus is passionately in love with a boy; in the twelfth idyll a lover addresses his absent beloved and describes a kissing contest amongst boys in honour of Diocles, lover of Philolaus; in the thirteenth idyll Hercules frantically searches for his beloved Hylas; in the twenty-third idyll a lover commits suicide and is revenged by a statue of Eros falling upon his faithless beloved; in the twenty-ninth idyll a lover speaks to his inconstant and immature beloved; and in the thirtieth idyll a rejected suitor reflects upon the heartbreak caused by the love of lads.

We can find the tinge of homo erotic idea in many of the works of art and literature and as such it is evident in the very first vernacular mystery play, The Killing of Abel (1450), though it is not in the pastoral- mythological tradition, contains some pertinent comments upon the first two shepherds on earth. Cain, who in the play may have a homosexual liaison with the Devil as well as with the boy Garcio, seems to desire to form such a relationship with Abel. In Christopher Marlowe's Edward II the king Edward had to go through a downfall due to his homosexual leanings as he was so fond of his male counter part and was so much in love with him that he never gave any heed to anyone. When he blamed for his wrong relationship he was so desperate that he said the following words:

"The mightiest kings have had their minions;
Great Alexander lov'd Hephaestion,
The conquering Hercules for Hylas wept,
And for Patroclus stern Achilles droop'd.
And not kings only, but the wisest men;
The Roman Tully lov'd Octavius,
Grave Socrates wild Alcibiades."

He sited various examples of different great people, kings, wise people who were also homosexuals and thus justified his status as a gay.

Great people like Alexander, Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Caesar, Coleridge, De Quincey, Rosa Bonheur, Joan of Arc, Beethoven, Wagner and Napoleon most of the world's geniuses can be traced directly to the homosexual. And according to me these people were extremely talented and it has been researched that geniuses can have and possess lots of abnormal behaviours and leanings which are in a way justified.

Shakespeare himself was a gay and the nature of his sonnets possessed homoerotic views and conceptions. The recurring notion of 'friendship' are found to occur time and again which simplifies the fact that they had homosexual ideas. Renaissance friendship as illustrated by Shakespeare's Sonnets is a typical convention has homoerotic element is often found to be seen in some of the researches. another writer Richard Barnfield's had overtly declared in his absolutely homosexual Certayne Sonnets (1595) many ideas about homosexualism. Barnfield has lines such as

"Sometimes I wish that I his pillow were, So might I steal a kiss"

The writings and the sonnets of these great talents are so well written that whether it deals with the notion of the homosexual ideas can be said to be negligible. These are such beautiful works of art that contain such vivid descriptions of the homosexualism which is all together an innovative step by itself. love found between two persons belonging to the same sex is so vividly found in literature that is worth mentioning. The love and sex found in the gays are distinctly bloomed in the writings of great literary writers.

Read more about: william shakespeare
Story first published: Friday, June 30, 2006, 16:52 [IST]

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