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Cecil Dreeme is one of the queerest American novels of the 19th century. This edition, which includes a new introduction contextualizing the sexual history of the period and queer longings of the book, brings a rare, almost forgotten, sensational gothic novel set in New York’s West Village back to light. Published posthumously in 1861, the novel centers on Robert Byng, a young man who moves back to New York after traveling abroad and finds himself unmarried and underemployed, adrift in the heathenish dens of lower Manhattan. When he takes up rooms in “Chrysalis College”—a thinly veiled version of the 19th-century New York University building in Washington Square—he quickly finds himself infatuated with a young painter lodging there, named Cecil Dreeme. As their friendship grows and the novel unfolds against the backdrop of the bohemian West Village, Robert confesses that he “loves Cecil with a love passing the love of women.” Yet, there are dark forces at work in the form of the sinister and magnetic Densdeth, a charismatic figure of bad intention, who seeks to ensnare Robert for his own. Full of romantic entanglements, mistaken identity, blackmail, and the dramas of temptation and submission, Cecil Dreeme is a gothic novel at its finest. Poetically written—with flashes of Walt Whitman, Charles Dickens, and Oscar Wilde— Cecil Dreeme is an early example of that rare bird, a queer novel from the 19th century.
The modern idea of Victorians is that they were emotionless prudes, imprisoned by sexual repression and suffocating social constraints; they expressed love and affection only within the bounds of matrimony—if at all. And yet, a wealth of evidence contradicting this idea has been hiding in plain sight for close to a century. In Manly Love, Axel Nissen turns to the novels and short stories of Victorian America to uncover the widely overlooked phenomenon of passionate friendships between men. Nissen’s examination of the literature of the period brings to light a forgotten genre: the fiction of romantic friendship. Delving into works by Mark Twain, Henry James, William Dean Howells, and others, Nissen identifies the genre’s unique features and explores the connections between romantic friendships in literature and in real life. Situating love between men at the heart of Victorian culture, Nissen radically alters our understanding of the American literary canon. And with its deep insights into the emotional and intellectual life of the period, Manly Love also offers a fresh perspective on nineteenth-century America’s attitudes toward love, friendship, marriage, and sex.
Vols. 277-230, no. 2 include Stuff and nonsense, v. 5-6, no. 8, Jan. 1929-Aug. 1930.
While the Victorian period is often considered one of the most repressive and homophobic in American history, a literature of love between men actually flourished in the middle to late nineteenth century. Published by some of the most famous and respected writers of the day and popular with a wide audience of contemporary readers, many of these largely forgotten texts are now rediscovered in this provocative anthology of male romantic friendship fiction. Comprising fifteen short stories, sketches, travel narratives, and novel extracts by such authors as Bayard Taylor, Bret Harte, Henry James, William Dean Howells, and Augusta Jane Evans Wilson, the volume casts new light on Victorian understandings of love, friendship, and eroticism. The collection both expands the canon of nineteenth-century American literature and offers a fresh context with which to view classic novels of the era, including Moby Dick and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Preceded by richly informative headnotes discussing the life and works of each author, the selections challenge the reader not only to reexamine nineteenth-century understandings of sexual mores and behaviors, but also to consider the striking differences between today's attitudes toward gender and sexuality and a time when men could openly express an unashamed, unselfconscious, all-consuming love for members of their own sex.
Includes music.
Volumes 1-11 located in Reference.

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