Gordon Merrick and the Great Gay American Novel


SKU: 9781793635648
Author: Ortiz, Joseph M
Publication Date: 05/31/2022
Publisher: Lexington Books
Binding: Hardcover
Media: Book
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Gordon Merrick and the Great Gay American Novel is the first biography of Gordon Merrick, the most commercially successful writer of gay novels in the twentieth century. This book shows how Merrick’s novels were largely based on his own life and time as a Princeton theater star, a Broadway actor, a New York reporter, an OSS spy, and the friend of countless artists and celebrities as an expatriate in France, Greece, and Sri Lanka. He lived much of his life as an openly gay man with his longtime partner, Charles Hulse. His 1970 novel, The Lord Won’t Mind, broke new ground by showing that an affirming, explicitly gay novel could be a bestseller. His subsequent gay novels were both a cultural phenomenon and a lightning rod for literary critics. This book also examines the complex, often conflicting responses to Merrick’s novels by gay readers and critics, and it thus recovers the early post-Stonewall debates over the definition of “gay literature.” By reconstructing Merrick’s life and critical fortunes, this book expands our understanding of what it means to be a gay man in the twentieth century.