Queer City by Peter Ackroyd
Gay London from the Romans to the Present Day

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It is also strangely impersonal. Was ever an author so present in, and yet so absent from, his own work? It is always unmistakably Ackroyd, just personally uninvolved.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Peter Ackroyd is our preeminent chronicler of London. In Queer City, he looks at the metropolis in a whole new way – through the history and experiences of its gay population.

In Roman Londinium the penis was worshipped and homosexuality was considered admirable. The city was dotted with lupanaria (‘wolf dens’ or public pleasure houses), fornices (brothels) and thermiae (hot baths). Then came the Emperor Constantine, with his bishops and clergy, monks and missionaries. His rule was accompanied by the first laws against queer practices.

What followed was an endless loop of alternating permissiveness and censure, from the notorious Normans, whose military might depended on masculine loyalty, and the fashionable female transvestism of the 1620s; to the frenzy of executions for sodomy in the early 1800s and the ‘gay plague’ in the 1980s.

Ackroyd takes us right into this hidden city, celebrating its diversity, thrills and energy on the one hand; but reminding us of its very real terrors, dangers and risks on the other. In a city of superlatives, it is perhaps this endless sexual fluidity and resilience that epitomise the real triumph of London.

'Peter Ackroyd is the greatest living chronicler of London' Independent

 

About Peter Ackroyd

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Published June 27, 2017 by Chatto & Windus. 272 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Gay & Lesbian.
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Critic reviews for Queer City
All: 2 | Positive: 0 | Negative: 2

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Simon Callow on May 31 2017

It is also strangely impersonal. Was ever an author so present in, and yet so absent from, his own work? It is always unmistakably Ackroyd, just personally uninvolved.

Read Full Review of Queer City: Gay London from t... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Neil Bartlett on May 29 2017

Sadly, what Ackroyd has come up with by way of his personal contribution to these anniversary commemorations turns out to be less an excavation than a hasty piece of cultural speed dating.

Read Full Review of Queer City: Gay London from t... | See more reviews from Guardian

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