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The American Byron: Homosexuality and the Fall of Fitz-Greene Halleck (Hardback)

John W.M. Hallock

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ISBN 10: 029916800X / ISBN 13: 9780299168001
Edité par University of Wisconsin Press, United States, 2000
Neuf(s) Etat : New Couverture rigide
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Language: English . Brand New Book. Hailed in the mid-nineteenth century as the most important American poet of the period, Fitz-Greene Halleck was a close friend of William C. Bryant, an associate of Charles Dickens and Washington Irving, and a celebrity sought out by John Jacob Astor and American presidents. Halleck, an attractive man of wit and charm, was dubbed the American Byron because he both employed similar poetic strategies and challenged the most sacred institutions of his day. A large general readership enjoyed his verse, though it was infused with homosexual themes. Indeed, Halleck s love for another man would be fictionalized in Bayard Taylor s novel Joseph and His Friend a century before the Stonewall riots. In this insightful cultural biography, John W. M. Hallock (a distant relative) portrays Fitz-Greene as a prophet of the literary and sexual revolution of which Walt Whitman would be the messiah. The first biographical study of Halleck in more than fifty years, The American Byron traces the path to glory and eventual radical decanonization of America s earliest homosexual poet. N° de réf. du libraire AAN9780299168001

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Détails bibliographiques

Titre : The American Byron: Homosexuality and the ...

Éditeur : University of Wisconsin Press, United States

Date d'édition : 2000

Reliure : Hardback

Etat du livre :New

A propos de ce titre

Synopsis :

Hailed in the mid-nineteenth century as the most important American poet of the period, Fitz-Greene Halleck was a close friend of William C. Bryant, an associate of Charles Dickens and Washington Irving, and a celebrity sought out by John Jacob Astor and American presidents. Halleck, an attractive man of wit and charm, was dubbed “the American Byron” because he both employed similar poetic strategies and challenged the most sacred institutions of his day. A large general readership enjoyed his verse, though it was infused with homosexual themes. Indeed, Halleck’s love for another man would be fictionalized in Bayard Taylor’s novel Joseph and His Friend a century before the Stonewall riots.
    In this insightful cultural biography, John W. M. Hallock (a distant relative) portrays Fitz-Greene as a prophet of the literary and sexual revolution of which Walt Whitman would be the messiah. The first biographical study of Halleck in more than fifty years, The American Byron traces the path to glory and eventual radical decanonization of America’s earliest homosexual poet.

From Kirkus Reviews:

In his new study of a 19th-century American poet, Hallock uncovers convincing evidence that homophobic critics forced him into self-censorship, isolation, and, ultimately, silence. Are we talking about Walt Whitman, that Great Gay Poet of Mannahatta? No, of course not. Whitman was attacked but never gave in. It was Fitz-Greene Halleck (17901867), the dashing New Yorker who strutted and fretted his hour upon the stage and then was heard no more. He was madly in love with J.R. Drake, with whom he wrote the Croaker Papers (a series of poems satirizing New York society). The Croakers were the talk of the town, and so were Halleck and Drake, although they published the poems under pseudonyms. But Drake married a woman, and this left Halleck in a snit for the rest of his life. When Drake died at the age of 25, Halleck was mortified with grief and produced the widely anthologized elegy ``On the Death of Joseph Rodman Drake.'' He wrote satiresFanny,'' for examplethat earned comparison with Byron, but this is a bit of a stretch. Halleck lived a quiet life disconnected from the history unfolding around him. He hated democracy. He called himself a monarchist. He refused to write about the Civil War because he cared for neither side. His last words were ``Marie, hand me my pantaloons, if you please.'' Byron died at war. Whitman at least got to the battleground, and he was one who never let the critics stop him from writing, even if he did censor his own lines from time to time. Hallock, a distant relative of Halleck, unfortunately never inherited his ancestor's felicity with words. He seems to have a perverse aversion to narrative, and his writing is marred by the tittering wit of the academicas when he writes of Halleck's phallic imagery in an early poem: ``Stiff memory is penetrated by a metaphoric dart, akin to Cupid's arrow.'' Hallock's great accomplishment here is a documentation of literary homophobia. It will take another writer to give us a compelling biography of this once-famous poet. -- Copyright ©2000, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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