One (nameless) reviewer of Humphrey Carpenter’s recent biography of Auden stated that the poet, like all queers, liked camping it up. The image is a hackneyed and ignorant one. Conversely, where male ‘campery’ entertains the masses in its most degrading forms (drag acts, covert homosexuals in sit-coms etc.), the masses still find much to despise in the hundreds of gay men driven to casual sex in public toilets. Of course, homosexuality is nothing to hide, but, before I rear the fierce and angry head of sexual politics, one has to recognise that prejudice is ingrained and sustained by these misrepresentative images. And, of course, the consequent suppression of sexuality causes a lot of pain.
Follow Literary Review on Twitter
'Robert Silvers, editor of the New York Review of Books, once asked Isaiah Berlin who his ideal dinner guest would be. Without hesitation Berlin exclaimed, ‘William James!’'
'She digs her images into her story, so that they blow up like psychic land mines when the reader’s perception brushes against them.'
Hilary Mantel reviewing Margaret Atwood: a #BookerPrize double-header from the archive.
In Ali Smith's "Summer", 'the coronavirus pandemic has arrived. Lockdown happens too. There are allusions to Black Lives Matter, to online abuse and radicalisation, to things so recently news that it feels shocking to find them in a novel.'