Review – A Little Gay History

Posted December 27, 2021 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Cover of A Little Gay History by R.B. ParkinsonA Little Gay History, R. B. Parkinson

This really is a little book, but it’s still interesting. It uses the British Museum’s collections (with a little bit of help from the British Library) to discuss how same-sex desire has been portrayed in art and literature. It’s not an exhaustive account, and many cultures leave no mark: I’d say it’s best viewed as highlighting some interesting objects (and some of the lacunae where we can’t say), rather than as any kind of complete narrative.

For me, there wasn’t a lot that I didn’t know about, or which surprised me if I didn’t, but it’s a good opportunity to get a closer look at the objects: the images are full-colour, and most pages enlarge some of the interesting details to take a closer look. The focus is on gay men, partly due to the limitations of any collection and the general invisibility of women in the archaeology of certain periods, but there are some references to genders outside the binary, and to portrayals of female same-sex desire.

It’s worth noting that quite a few of the images are explicit. In addition, some of them are Greek/Roman, so some of the men portrayed are teenage boys (since there were sanctioned and encouraged relationships between boys and older men).

Rating: 4/5

Tags: , , , , ,


Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.