Introduction: Straight Talk

  • Mark Lilly
Part of the Insights book series (ISI)


In preparing this anthology for publication, I was repeatedly asked, by people I met both professionally and socially, about the value of a book that confined itself to what in their eyes was an artificial category (lesbian/gay writing) written by contributors all of whom are themselves lesbian/gay. Was not the enterprise doomed from the start because of its narrow focus, its inward-lookingness, its exclusivity? I initially determined that this was the one subject I would not be addressing, and for two reasons: first, I assumed the doubters were merely expressing a veiled form of heterosexism and did indeed appreciate the purpose of the book; secondly, I was determined not to appear to be on the defensive, not to have to justify the enterprise. As lesbian/gay people, we often find ourselves expending great time and emotional effort just to establish basic principles of justice in our lives — the right to equality in law, in housing, in custody cases, in access to balanced sex education, freedom from physical attack and so on — and it seemed to me dangerously concessionary even to raise the issue at all of the rationale for an anthology such as this one is.


Strong Opponent Gutter Press Artificial Category Custody Case Sympathetic Attitude 
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  1. 2.
    Many of the examples cited from critical works in this essay have been brought to my attention by Greg Woods, to whom I am very grateful, in Articulate Flesh (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1987).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Jeffrey Meyers, Homosexuality and Literature, 1890–1930 (London: Athlone Press, 1977) pp. 2–3.Google Scholar
  3. 9.
    Paul Zweig, Walt Whitman: The Making of the Poet (Harmondsworth, Middx.: Penguin, 1987).Google Scholar
  4. 10.
    Ibid., p. 190.Google Scholar
  5. 11.
    Ibid., p. 188.Google Scholar
  6. 13.
    Tom Marshall, The Psychic Mariner: A Reading of the Poems of D. H. Lawrence (London: Heinemann, 1970) p. 128.Google Scholar
  7. 14.
    John Logan, Hart Crane: ‘White Buildings’ (New York: Liveright, 1972) p. xxxi.Google Scholar
  8. 15.
    J. Unterecker, Voyage: A Life of Hart Crane (London: Blond, 1970) p. 378.Google Scholar
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    S. Hazo, Hart Crane: An Introduction and Interpretation (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1963) p. 56.Google Scholar
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    Oliver Bernard, Introduction to Arthur Rimbaud: Collected Poems (Harmondsworth, Middx.: Penguin, 1962) p. xxx.Google Scholar
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    Louis Macneice, ‘Autumn Journal’ in Collected Poems (London: Faber and Faber, 1986) p. 106.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Editorial Board, Lumiere (Co-operative) Press Ltd 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Lilly

There are no affiliations available

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