Re: [delany-list] Re: Reading Phallos
- In a message dated 6/22/06 12:48:54, bllsln@... writes:
>*Phallos* leans largely on LacanI took it as a pisstake on Lacan, in contrast to the Mad Man which involved
- I will take a look at the 1/3 of Phallos and try and come up with some questions of my own. I'm excited to get a reading of Phallos started.
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- Bill here again, back from Maryland. My apologies to those who were
waiting for me on the 10th. At the risk of a little overkill, I
thought I'd get together some links for those who were still
interested in the Phallos Group Read. Bellow are all names referred to
in the first four pages of Delany's novella. No one is obliged to
follow all the links I provide or to read everything, but even looking
at a few of them at random should be interesting. Okay, here goes.
Walter Pater: A gay critic of the late 19th's century. He was a great
influence on all the modernists, including Joyce and Woolf. In About
Writing Delany cites him repeatedly as a critic important for writers
even today. The link below will lead you to Edmond Gosse's
appreciation of Pater, written on his death.)
Lionel Pigot Johnson (186702) was a poet, a member of the Rhymers'
Club, a critic, and religious thinker. Nearly a midget, Johnson was a
gay alcoholic, a friend of Pater's and Earnest Dowson. The love of his
life was the adventurer and soldier of fortune Austin Ferrand, who was
killed at Ladysmith. A volume of Johnson's selected poems, published
in 1915, was introduced by a major essay by Ezra Pound. A cherished
copy of this edition was in the poet Hart Crane's adolescent library.
Arthur Symons (who, while he was not gay, was deeply sympathetic
to a number of men and artists who were, including Pater, Johnson,
and Verlaine. Click on the chronology):
John Addington Symonds:
Baron Crovo (a.k.a Frederic Rolfe):
Marc Blitzstein (190563):
Leonard Bernstein borrowed the tune for "There's a Place for Us . . ."
from a Blitzstein song that never found its way into one of
Blitzstein's own actual shows/operas, called "Mr. What's His Name . .
."certainly Blitzstein's best known melody today. He was beaten and
killed in Martinique by some Portuguese sailors he cruised one night.
As well as his own shows, Cradle Will Rock, No for an Answer, and
Regina, he was the arranger for the phenomenally successful production
of the Brecht/Weill Threepenny Opera in the 1954 production.
Gregory Battcock (193780), writer and art critic, was part of the
circle around the radical Dutch psychiatrist Dr. Hendrick Rouytenbeek,
and his young protégé, Richard McConckie, in the early 1960, along
with film-maker Gregory Markopoulus (Twice a Man, The Illiac Passion),
a circle with which Delany himself was briefly associated during his
year at CUNY and just after it. (Personal communication with SRD.)
Delany several times dined with Battcock at Ruytenbeek's NYCiy home.
In 1980, Battcock was murdered during a visit to Puerto Rico when he
picked up a young hustler on the beach and brought him back to his
The Bibliotheque Nationale is the national library of France,
comparable to the Library of the British Museum or the U. S. Library
of Congress. The Enfer is the nickname for the BN's considerable
holdings in the genre of pornography, in which, at the beginning of
the century, the surrealist poet Guillaume Apollinaire was a managing
librarian. Henry Spencer Ashbee and Jules Gay are 19th century
biographers, respectively English and French, famous for keeping track
of the erotica published in and out of their respective languages.
Now, what do all these figures have in common? They are involved with
gay rights, gay art, orin the case of Winkelmann, Blitzstein and
Battockthey were the victims of moral homophobic oppression.
I believe this web of associations suggest both the history out of
wjhich Phallos grows and the audience to which it addressedan
audience who might be concerned with such a history. I suspect this
is really meaningful in terms of where the tale told in Phallos takes us.
- Bill here, once more.
Apologies for the occasional mis-typings in my last long message. The
one that might actually confuse people: Gay and Ashbee are, of course,
19th century "bibliographers," not "biographers." (And their works
with the fancy titles--*Cetena Liborum Tacandorum* ,
*Bibliographie des ouvrages relatifs a l'Amour* [six vols., 1871-73],
etc.--are large, annotated bibliographies of pornography.) Sorry,
folks. If you want more information about any of this, see Steven
Marcus's book *The Other Victorians* . Oh, and the production of
the Marc Blitzstein arrangememnt of *The Threepenny Opera* I referred
to opened in 1952, not '54. You will find others.
Too much sun down in Maryland . . .