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LGBTQ Literature: Books about Men

This LibGuide provides resources to read and learn about LGBTQ literature. All resources are available through the LGBT Memorial Library in Roanoke, VA, or online.

Books about Men

Literature about gay men has always been more prominent than books focusing on any other LGBTQ group due to social circumstances that have made it easier for men than women to write and publish. Many canonical male writers have had relationships with other men, and more often than not wrote about them in one way or another, even if they veiled the homosexuality in their writing.

Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman (ca. 1855)

Call number: 811 WHI

Whitman is one of the major nineteenth century American poets, and it's likely that he also had relationships with men. His poems in this, his greatest work, are full of homoeroticism and sweeping verse.

 

Death in Venice, by Thomas Mann (1912)

Call number: FG MAN

In this novella, Mann tells the story of an author struggling with writer's block in Venice who becomes obsessed with a boy he sees while the city falls prey to a plague.

 

Confessions of a Mask, by Yukio Mishima (1949)

Call number: FG MIS

This novel follows the main character Kochan as he grows up in traditional Japanese society, struggling with his own physical weakness and his desire for other men.

The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde (1890)

Call number: FG WIL

Oscar Wilde played a major role in publicizing homosexuality and contributed to it being seen as a discrete identity through his trial for gross indecency with men and his subsequent death in prison. This novel is his most famous work, and the queerness lies just below the surface.

Other Voices, Other Rooms, by Truman Capote (1948)

Call number: FG CAP

This semi-autobiographical Southern gothic novel tells the story of a boy named Joel who goes to live with his crossdressing older cousin in a mysterious mansion and befriends a tomboy named Idabel. Capote was the model for Dill Harris in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Giovanni's Room, by James Baldwin (1956)

Call number: FG BAL

On the day of his lover Giovanni's execution, an American man in Paris reflects on his relationships with both men and women. Baldwin himself moved to France at a young age to escape the racism of the United States.

Maurice, by E. M. Forster (written 1914, published 1971)

Call number: FG FOR

Forster was a successful novelist at the beginning of the twentieth century, but he stopped writing novels because he felt he couldn't write truthfully if he couldn't write about his own homosexuality. This love story between two British men wasn't published until after his death.

The City and the Pillar, by Gore Vidal (1948)

Call number: FG VID

This post-war novel follows the coming of age of Jim Willard as he moves around the United States before and during World War II, having relationships with various men but always remaining in love with his boyhood crush.

 

The Master, by Colm Tóibín (2004)

Call number: FG TOI

This novel depicts the novelist Henry James in the last years of the nineteenth century, detailing his writing, his personal relationships, his seclusion, and his repressed homosexuality.

For varied selections of gay short fiction, you might want to take a look at these three anthologies.

                                 

The Faber Book of Gay Short Fiction              The Penguin Book of Gay Short Stories            Now the Volcano: An Anthology of 

                                                                                                                                                        Latin American Gay Literature

   Call number: 808.83 FAB                                  Call number: 823.9 PEN                                     Call number: 869 NOW