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Gay Life Stories

Robert Aldrich


A fascinating portrait of gay men and women throughout time whose lives have influenced society at large, as well as what we recognize as today’s varied gay culture

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This book gives a voice to more than eighty people from every major continent and from all walks of life. It includes poets and philosophers, rulers and spies, activists and artists.

Alongside such celebrated figures as Michelangelo, Frederick the Great and Harvey Milk are lesser-known but no less surprising individuals: Dong Xian and the Chinese emperor Ai, whose passion flourished in the 1st century BC; the unfortunate Robert De Péronne, first to be burned at the stake for sodomy; Katharine Philips, writing proto-lesbian poetry in seventeenth-century England; and 'Aimee' and 'Jaguar', whose love defied the death camps of wartime Germany. With many striking illustrations, Gay Life Stories will entertain, give pause for thought, and ultimately celebrate the diversity of human history.

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'Prose portraits, images and paintings that surprise, move and intrigue … ultimately uplifting'

'A colourful compendium of same-sex love through the ages'

'An upbeat and inspirational take on the heroes and heroines from history who have pushed a same sex love agenda'
Gay Times

'Engaging … a beautiful book, and a welcome addition to what some call “gay studies” and others simply see as a celebration of human sexuality in all its diversity'
Time Out

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 19.8 x 12.9 cm

Extent: 336 pp

Illustrations: 20

Publication date: 2 March 2023

ISBN: 9780500297032

Contents List

1. Ancient Ancestors
2. Saints and Sinners
3. Renaissance Men and Women
4. Love and Sex in the Enlightenment
5. Founding Fathers and Mothers
6. The Fin-de-Siècle and Belle Epoque
7. Modern Women
8. Entanglements of Sex and Politics
9. Visions of Male Beauty
10. Love in the Levant
11. Japonisme
12. Activists
13. International Lives

About the Author

Robert Aldrich is Professor of European History at at the University of Sydney. He is the author of The Seduction of the Mediterranean, The Age of Empires and Colonialism and Homosexuality, and the editor of Gay Life and Culture: A World History.