🌈Celebrating LGBTQ+ ARTS & EMPOWERMENT!🌈
*** 2022: 25th ANNIVERSARY! ***
Over 5,250 Hours Developing This Site
Welcome to LGBTQ+ Literature & Film, both classic and contemporary. This evolving site, begun in 1997, features original reviews, essays, recommendations, and additional resources.
LGBTQ+ literature spans 5,000 years, from the ancient epic of Gilgamesh (a profound same-sex love story), to such canonical authors as Plato, Shakespeare, Dickinson, Whitman, Wilde, Woolf, Baldwin, to today’s diverse Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer-Plus (LGBTQ+) writers in every form: fiction, non-fiction, drama, poetry, and astonishing experiments.
Explore film’s history, aesthetics, technology, and more. Includes reviews (my Jim’s Film Website), “Best” lists, a tribute to Robert Wise. Also a major section on LGBTQ+ Cinema, from such foundational directors as Eisenstein, Murnau, and Cocteau, to Hollywood titans like James Whale, George Cukor, and Dorothy Arzner, and contemporaries including Chantal Akerman, Pedro Almodóvar, Isaac Julien, and Wong Kar-wai.
Fassbinder | Pasolini | Jarman
These three multi-talented gay artists – Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Derek Jarman – created provocative works that span film, literature, theater, painting, philosophy, and more. Their influence today, in art and ideas, is stronger than ever. Pasolini galvanized Fassbinder; both inspired Jarman.
About This Site
Hi, I’m Jim. This is my independent website (sitemap here), focused on LGBTQ+ Literature & Cinema, musical and visual arts, including their many intersections with general culture, such as authors Plato, Shakespeare, Woolf, filmmakers Eisenstein, Murnau, Cocteau, artists Michelangelo, Dürer, Kahlo, composers Handel, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, and our contemporaries. This site features original movie best-lists, reviews, a guide to film, essays (including “Why a LGBTQ+ Focus?” – short answer: all part of our diverse common humanity), book recommendations, and more. Opinions are based on close readings – the words on the page, or pictures and sounds from the screen – plus historical context.
What makes a work outstanding? An imaginative bond between content (feelings/ideas) and the form the artist uses. That ranges from the visionary simplicity of Emily Dickinson’s poetry to the psychological complexity of Henry James’s fiction to the fiery revelations of James Baldwin’s essays. I advocate discussion (here are tips for starting a group), not censorship, even when disagreeing with a particular viewpoint. I abhor dehumanization (racism, sexism, homophobia, fascism), value diversity, and try to live by the Golden Rule, treating everyone how I want to be treated, with respect, kindness, and a sense of humor.
[UPDATED paragraph – January 23, 2022] You can see classic literature, as well as film and all the arts, not as ‘old stuff’ but rather as foundational – core – parts of an evolving global conversation that explores, and continually reexplores, such universal themes as, what makes a good society, power, responsibility, family, love, and what is true? That tradition in literature extends back 5,000 years to the epic of Gilgamesh, encompasses everything written since, and going forward, will include all the works that the collective we will make. You can think of LGBTQ+ arts as involving both archaeology, rediscovering the past, and pioneering, advancing towards (in the words of the new bi Superman) a better tomorrow – but always with an eye on what’s happening in our world now, including our deeper understanding of genders, race, class, and other social mechanisms. Past, present and future are all connected, all part of our personal and shared humanity, as together we strive to do better.
A few of the creators presented here – including for film, Fassbinder, Pasolini, Jarman, and for literature, Genet, Mishima, Highsmith – examine dark aspects of human nature. I appreciate being able to understand (self-)destructiveness through the safety of thought-provoking art that can also be cathartic. By happy contrast, there’s my original LGBTQ+ Lit category, Fun Stuff!, light but substantial works. Another section highlights LGBTQ+ Genre Literature: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Suspense/Mystery/Adventure.
NEW SECTION: LGBTQ+ Scientists. Added because our common humanity, beyond the arts, includes the natural world, with science as the key. First entries are physicist/mathematician Isaac Newton, naturalist/explorer Alexander von Humboldt, foundational computer genius Alan Turing, plus resources for LGBTQ+ people in STEM (Sciences, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics). From a certain point of view, the star-swept night sky and Shakespeare both embody a transcendent wonder that we all can share. In a post, I recommend a free introductory science course, Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Behavior; not directly LGBTQ-related but for me its ‘big picture’ insights, revealing connections between genetics, geology, climate science and evolutionary biology, were life-changing – that post also includes links to many more free university courses in the arts and sciences, open to all.
+ AN *INCLUSIVE* WARM WELCOME! This site is for everyone interested in literature and film. It launched in 1997 as “GLBT Literature,” before there was a consensus on which acronym best fit the diverse community. Happily, we now have LGBTQ+, with a wonderfully inclusive + that expands to LGBTQIAPNb2S+ for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Pansexual, Nonbinary, Two Spirit, Plus More, including all the amazing Straight Allies, and those who choose no labels. Orientation is about transformative honesty, to yourself and to others. All part of our shared humanity, that can be enriched through the arts and sciences, by embracing cultural, gender, racial differences and connections, plus each of our unique personal experiences.
ANNOUNCEMENTS (January 2022)
- 🌈Celebrating *LGBTQ+ PRIDE” June 2021… & Beyond! EMPOWERMENT, EQUALITY & JUSTICE FOR ALL!🌈
- 🌈BRIEFLY *FREE* (TO OWN) COMPLETE SHAKESPEARE, all the plays (with character names spelled out, so Hamlet not ‘Ham’) and poetry, plus multiple biographies and classic criticism. https://www.amazon.com/Complete…/dp/B01LZV3T6F/
- 🌈🌈**VERY BRIEFLY FREE* (TO OWN) [today is January 24, 2022] – ALL 7 VOLUMES COMPLETE of Marcel Proust‘s intimate epic, IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME (aka REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST), in the original C.K. Scott Moncrieff translation (my favorite). As Yale’s superstar critic, the late Prof. Harold Bloom, put it: “widely recognized as the major novel of the twentieth century.” https://www.amazon.com/Search-Lost-Remembrance-Things-volumes-ebook/dp/B077716CMX/
- NEW SECTION: LGBTQ+ Scientists – beginning with Newton, Humboldt, Turing; and a special welcome to LGBTQ+ people in STEM: Sciences, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics!
- UPDATED (January 21, 2022): Start a Discussion Group for Books and/or Films.
- NEW ENTRIES: Selected Book Resources – MAJOR UPDATE (December 17, 2021), added RESOURCES for: 1) Stephen Sondheim‘s landmark musical play about vengeance, justice, love… and meat pies, Sweeney Todd, 2) bell hooks‘s study, Ain’t I a Woman?: Black Women and Feminism, 3) Pauli Murray‘s autobiography, Song in a Weary Throat: Memoir of an American Pilgrimage (Murray was a trailblazing Black nonbinary civil rights and gender equality activist, lawyer, poet, and priest), 4) Virginia Woolf’s fantasy novel, Orlando (adventures of a young English nobleman who lives for centuries, and changes genders). UPDATED (January 7, 2022): Finding Book & Film Resources, with “ABCD” Research Tips: A – Author or filmmaker (biographies, their other works), B – specific Book or film (reviews, analyses), C – Context (historical, cultural including related works in other media, such as a book’s film or stage adaptations), D – Discussion questions, and more (I may have coined this “ABCD” approach).
- UPDATED BOOK & FILM RESOURCES: LGBTQ+ Literature, LGBTQ+ Cinema, and General Film.
- UPDATED (January 23, 2022): Resources at External Sites – added The Advocate’s list of the 25 Best Classic LGBTQ+ Novels (most of which I’ve long highlighted at this site), and more.
- UPDATED: Brief Guide to Film, how visual and sound design enhance story, and shape ideas. NEW section on special effects.
- THROUGHOUT 2022: Completing film reviews for all of Fassbinder, Pasolini, and Jarman, using notes from screenings for the few pictures not available for home viewing. Plus new additional film and book reviews.
- QUESTION: Why a LGBTQ+ Focus? NEW section on “straightwashing” Washington Allston, the 19th century American artist/author and teacher of Samuel F.B. Morse.
CONTACT (Please note that I’m finishing a large project on a deadline, and can only respond when time permits. Thank you for understanding, and for your interest.)
Website begun 1997 / Updated January 23, 2022 – 5,287 hours