Eminent Outlaws by Christopher Bram
The Gay Writers Who Changed America

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Gay writers and their work are much messier than the story told here, and more interesting for it. “Eminent Outlaws” deserves a prominent place in the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop.
-NY Times

Synopsis

In the years following World War II a group of gay writers established themselves as major cultural figures in American life. Truman Capote, the enfant terrible, whose finely wrought fiction and nonfiction captured the nation's imagination. Gore Vidal, the wry, withering chronicler of politics, sex, and history. Tennessee Williams, whose powerful plays rocketed him to the top of the American theater. James Baldwin, the harrowingly perceptive novelist and social critic. Christopher Isherwood, the English novelist who became a thoroughly American novelist. And the exuberant Allen Ginsberg, whose poetry defied censorship and exploded minds. Together, their writing introduced America to gay experience and sensibility, and changed our literary culture.

But the change was only beginning. A new generation of gay writers followed, taking more risks and writing about their sexuality more openly. Edward Albee brought his prickly iconoclasm to the American theater. Edmund White laid bare his own life in stylized, autobiographical works. Armistead Maupin wove a rich tapestry of the counterculture, queer and straight. Mart Crowley brought gay men's lives out of the closet and onto the stage. And Tony Kushner took them beyond the stage, to the center of American ideas.

With authority and humor, Christopher Bram weaves these men's ambitions, affairs, feuds, loves, and appetites into a single sweeping narrative. Chronicling over fifty years of momentous change-from civil rights to Stonewall to AIDS and beyond-EMINENT OUTLAWS is an inspiring, illuminating tale: one that reveals how the lives of these men are crucial to understanding the social and cultural history of the American twentieth century.
 

About Christopher Bram

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Christopher Bram is the author of eight other novels, including "Gods and Monsters" (originally titled "Father of Frankenstein"), which was made into an Academy Award-winning film. Bram was a 2001 Guggenheim Fellow and received the 2003 Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement. He lives in New York City.
 
Published February 2, 2012 by Twelve. 355 pages
Genres: History, Gay & Lesbian, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Eminent Outlaws
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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by JOHN LELAND on Feb 24 2012

Gay writers and their work are much messier than the story told here, and more interesting for it. “Eminent Outlaws” deserves a prominent place in the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop.

Read Full Review of Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writ... | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Feb 02 2012

Mr. Bram is not the most dexterous critic you will ever encounter. On back-to-back pages you will find clichés like “richly observed,” “deeply felt” and “expertly crafted.” The fires of his arguments are rarely well banked...

Read Full Review of Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writ... | See more reviews from NY Times

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