A LITTLE GAY HISTORY: Desire And Diversity Across The World By R. B. Parkinson


Through the ages even past histories and non-traditional sexual artistic expressions are subject to the censorship and re-telling by organizations such as governmental and manipulative groups with different views. Where did the Gay history go? How much of  LGBT history is erased? In “A Little Gay History: Desire And Diversity Across The World” Robert B. Parkinson sets out to unveil these secrets. In his book focusing on antiquities taken solely from The British Museum’s own collection, Parkinson illustrates his theories by pointing to over a hundred items, literally spanning time from 9000 BC to present day. With “A Little Gay History” readers have a minute amount but representative cross section, of LGBT historical artifacts at their fingertips. Every case study contains images directing the reader to prime examples of LGBT art and literature through the ages. Some images are familiar, ones that we may have even come across in our everyday lives. Some look into expressions of desire concentrating on the rare and more unusual. With “A Little Gay History” readers have a minute amount, but representative cross section, of LGBT historical artifacts at their fingertips.

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Notwithstanding his occasionally pedantic delivery and possibly confusing approach, Parkinson stresses that just because art is not blatantly homosexual, one should not assume that it is solely heterosexual. However, there are many clear cut examples of Gay art demonstrated as well. Parkinson’s at his best when he links stories with the actual exhibit pieces in the book. For example; how Michelangelo’s sonnets to a young scholar named Cavalieri were later set to music by Benjamin Britten in the early 40s for his partner Peter Pears to sing; The Warren Cup, aka “The Holy Grail” of Gay art, believed to date back to the late reign of Augustus; Antinous’ love for Hadrian; E.M. Forster’s “Maurice”; and too many more to review here.

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“A Little Gay History”’s inclusions of artistic expression during sexual suppressive times will amaze you. It’s these stories that give the book (and exhibit) life. This book would be a wonderful tool for educational studies for gays and straights of all ages, and I can easily see this in the hands of a high school or college student as a key tool for LGBT historical studies. Because of its magnum-opus approach it’s not a book to be read all at once, but it’s much more enjoyable taken in smaller doses. ( By Tony Pinizzotto from www.edgeonthenet.com ) The book is available at the link below.