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Homintern : How Gay Culture Liberated the Modern World (Paperback)


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This is a landmark account of gay and lesbian creative networks and the seismic changes they brought to twentieth-century culture.

In a hugely ambitious study which crosses continents, languages, and almost a century, Gregory Woods identifies the ways in which homosexuality has helped shape Western culture. Extending from the trials of Oscar Wilde to the gay liberation era, this book examines a period in which increased visibility made acceptance of homosexuality one of the measures of modernity.

Woods shines a revealing light on the diverse, informal networks of gay people in the arts and other creative fields. Uneasily called “the Homintern” by those suspicious of an international homosexual conspiracy, this was an echo of the term “Comintern”, short for the ''Communist International'' of the early 20th century. These detractors believed that such hidden networks connected gay writers, actors, artists, musicians, dancers, filmmakers, politicians, and spies, to the detriment of the mainstream.

Woods believes that while some such groupings may have existed informally, they were more about providing some defense against dominant heterosexual exclusion, bringing solidarity, and celebrating talent, and actually invigorated culture as a whole.

Woods introduces an enormous cast of gifted and extraordinary characters, most of them operating with surprising openness; but also explores such issues as artistic influence, the coping strategies of minorities, the hypocrisies of conservatism, and the effects of positive and negative discrimination.

Traveling from Harlem in the 1910s to 1920s Paris, 1930s Berlin, 1950s New York and beyond, this sharply observed, warm-spirited book presents a fascinating portrait of twentieth-century gay culture and the men and women who both redefined themselves and changed history.

Author: Gregory Woods

Paperback, 421 Pages, Orig. Publ. 2016, This Edition Published September 2017


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