Young Man From The Provinces: A Gay Life Before Stonewall

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9780816642687: Young Man From The Provinces: A Gay Life Before Stonewall

Returning to print, this insiderĘs view of pre-Stonewall high class homosexual lifestyles retraces the authorĘs journey from his backwards Midwestern town to Manhattan in the 1950s. Reprint.

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About the Author:

Alan Helms is a professor of literature at the University of Massachusetts.

From Publishers Weekly:

In his 20s and early 30s, Helms was at once the most privileged and self-destructive of men, at the giddy peak of his career as "the most celebrated young man in all of gay New York." The Manhattan of the 1950s and '60s embraced the Columbia student as a "U.T."?a "universal type," or "someone everybody wants," photographed by Avedon, directed by Edward Albee and pursued by any number of men. Repudiating the drab miseries of his Indiana boyhood, Helms pursued those who pursued him: his more celebrated lovers included Anthony Perkins, Larry Kert and Luchino Visconti. Leonard Bernstein wooed him ardently, and chum Noel Coward helped Helms reconcile with a lover. But the relationships were doomed to fall apart, as Helms (held aloft by adoration, alcohol and drugs; brought thuddingly to earth by excess?bulimia; alcoholism; joyless, frenetic promiscuity) began to self-destruct. Self-acceptance came with the more temperate joys of work as a college professor and with counseling from the Harvard psychologist Robert Coles. As he grew older, Helms was better able to distance himself from the past. Because Helms is neither an elegant nor a modest writer, the reader is less willing to repudiate his glittering excesses; Helms's vigorous name-dropping has more charm than the somber self-reproaches that accompany his sobriety. This self-described "D student in the school of life" depicts a New York that, after the Stonewall riots, would never be as closeted?or as cozily familiar?again.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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