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Love in a Dark Time: And Other Explorations of Gay Lives and Literature (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 8. Oktober 2002

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John Banville"Irish Times"Is it permissible even to speak, as so many do nowadays, of a "gay community"? Toibin treats Ýthis and many other questions with confidence and authority, both of which attributes are only strengthened by the moderation of his tone and the depth of his compassion. He writes with rare tenderness of figures as disparate as Elizabeth Bishop and Francis Bacon, Thomas Mann and Roger Casement, Thom Gunn and Pedro Almodovar.


A collection of linked essays about homosexual literature considers its most influential writers of the past two centuries--including Oscar Wilde, Thomas Mann, James Baldwin, Elizabeth Bishop, Mark Doty, and Thom Gunn--and how many of them were forced to hide the truth about their private lives. Rep -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch .

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17 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Colm Tóibín, May His Tribe Increase! 22. Juni 2005
Von Grady Harp - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Once captured by the liquid, informed prose of Colm Tóibín it is difficult to ignore anything this brilliant writer has written. Still under the spell of 'The Master' and having just sadly finished 'The Story of the Night' (that novel could have been extended another 300 pages!), it seemed only appropriate to read an investigative work, just to see how this man's mind absorbs and dissects the world of reality instead the one of fiction.

Happily LOVE IN A DARK TIME is as fascinating a read as his novels. Tóibín searches the lives of many writers and artists asking how did/does their sexuality inform what they create. After a few historic references regarding the gay aspects of Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Melville, Joyce, Lorca, Yeats, Kafka, Proust, Gide et at, he analyses biographies (example: Lionel Trilling's bio of EM Forster) that appear unaware of the subject's sexual proclivities! That thrusts us into the exploration of history before the term 'homosexual' was created, regards the aspects of 'the gay being', and proceeds to introduce postulates as to how the works created by nine particular people were deeply influenced by their sexuality, occult or accepted.

What then follows is a richly detailed and elegant series of essays on Henry James, Oscar Wilde, Roger Casement (of The Black Diaries), Thomas Mann, Francis Bacon (the painter), Elizabeth Bishop, James Baldwin, Thom Gunn, Pedro Almodovar, and Mark Doty. In each essay Tóibín takes a new stance of investigation, finding incidents or traits in the lives of those discussed that allow 'stories' to develop naturally.

For those who have read 'The Master' (Tóibín's own "biography" of Henry James) this series of highly researched essays will come as no surprise. Tóibín's mind is rich with a plethora of books read and a penetrating mind that examines art from a vantage peculiar to a man that has arrived at the top of the heap in the field of literature. For enjoyable and informative reading, LOVE IN DARK TIME is a pearl. And reading Tóibín's older works only serves to whet the appetite for his next opus. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, June 05
15 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
I'm Left Somewhat in the Dark 14. November 2002
Von H. F. Corbin - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
This is my first nonfiction read by Toibin. I've read three of his novels and think he gets better with each one. THE BLACKWATER LIGHTSHIP was an altogether fine book and deserved the Booker Prize I think. So I couldn't wait to start this one. I confess that I'm not sure what is going on here. In the introduction Mr. Toibin presents some of his favorite artists. He says that he writes about "gay figures for whom, in the main, being gay seemed to come second in their public lives" writers who write in code, whose works are not published during their lifetime, who use vague pronouns in their poetry. (Certainly I wouldn't have wanted to miss a novel like "DEATH IN VENICE," for instance.) Toibin goes on further to say that writing this book helped him come to terms with his "own interest in secret, erotic energy," his interest in both Catholicism and Irish Protestants, his admiration for "figures who lived in a dark time and were not afraid," and his fascination with sadness and tragedy. Herein lives Mr. Toibin's problem. He takes on too much in too little space. Additionally his treatment of these artists he admires is wildly uneven, both in depth and space. For example, the chapter on Oscar Wilde covers almost 50 pages; the chapter on Mark Doty-- one of my favorite writers-- covers only 7. And for the life of me I'm not sure what Mr. Toibin is trying to say in the concluding chapter entitled "Good-bye to Catholic Ireland," a chapter I read twice. Like many Catholics who attempt to say what is wrong with their church, Mr. Toibin is too "tentative," a word he uses elsewhere in this book, in his taking on the church. Certainly he is not alone in his dilemma, however. It's easy for me to make that criticism, never having walked in a Catholic altar boy's shoes either. In Toibin's chapter on Elizabeth Bishop, we are told that "like all orphans, Bishop was clever at making friends and inventing a family for herself." I suspect that that statement is true for many people but for "all orphans"? I'm not sure that that is a true statement.
There is a lot to like about this book, however. Mr. Toibin is never dull and is best when doing a narrative, something we would expect from a fine novelist. For example, when he describes a party that both he and Almodovar attended in Madrid, I wanted to be there. When I finished this book, I wanted to reread James Baldwin and read for the first time both Elizabeth Bishop and Thom Gunn. Toibin is also good at giving us delicious trivia about people. For example, we learn that Francis Bacon slept with a dog the night before being examined for military service in order to exacerbate his asthma and flunk his physical.
I'm certainly glad I read this book and would read anything by this writer. I just don't think this book is as good as Mr. Toibin's fiction.
6 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Recalling Favorite Authors of His Youth! 21. April 2003
Von Joseph J. Hanssen - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This retrospective from this award-winning Irish gay novelist is a very informative, enlightening, and opinionated reading for anyone, but especially gay readers, interested in gay literature. The author's aim was to write a book about a group of authors and their books that he read in his youth, that deeply influenced him, and that he discovered only years later were by gay authors. These authors became companions that had the same interests as he did. Toibin examines the lives of such authors as; Thomas Mann, James Baldwin, Roger Casement, and poets Mark Doty, and Thom Gunn. These authors are some of the most influential gay writers of our time, but some had to keep their sexuality hidden by choice or necessity. I enjoyed all of Toibin's examinations of these fine authors but after reading Toibin's chapter about Roger Casement's "Black Diaries", which were supposedly vivid records of his sexual partners, I'm still left wondering whether or not they really existed.

This book shows how deeply serious this author is about his love of books. You will walk away with an entirely new view of the life and work of these authors who have clearly influenced Toibin's life. It is a book that makes you think of your own favorite authors and how they have affected your life. This is a wonderful book, like no other I have read. Highly Recommended!
Joe Hanssen
6 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Von John Stahle - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Colm Toibin's "Love in a Dark Time" is a superior group of essays by one gay writer about other gay writers. What distinguishes this 2001 collection is how effectively Toibin sells the work of each figure essayed. I was never interested in James Baldwin before, but after reading Toibin's take, I ran out and enjoyed two Baldwin books. In the piece on Thomas Mann, we see how many of his male infatuations Mann turned into art--which infatuations into which stories--a subject being studied in detail only now by his biographers. And in the profile of Pedro Almodovar, we meet the Spanish torch singer Chavela Vargas, whom Almodovar rescued from obscurity because her confessional art mirrored so closely the values of his own cinema of women. A wonderful collection of essays that illuminate, indeed sell, each subject.
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Promise Not Fulfilled 30. Juni 2011
Von Ford Ka - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
Unless you read the word "lives" in the subtitle as "biographies" (as few will do) this book is not what it promises to be. What you get instead of biographical essays is mostly a collection of reviews of biographies of famous homosexual people of the late 19th and the 20th century, originally published in the "London Review of Books". There are three exceptions to this rule but only as much as in two essays the books reviewed were not biographies and one is a recollection of a meeting with Almodovar. As a result there is little of what I might call "a story line" here, apart of chronology, and the selection emerges as quite random. Toibin makes it all quite clear in his Introduction so it is not a spoiler in any way - still you will not find this information on the cover or in the Amazon product description.
The selection of artists is quite interesting and moderately international yet the value of specific reviews is greatly varied. I would say that on the one hand it depends on the quality of the reviewed biographies (quite comprehensibly, it is rather difficult to approach a dull subject with much enthusiasm, although none of the reviews made me reach for the book under review...) while on the other on Toibin's personal attitudes to their subjects and here the Irish apparently win hands down.
Some of the essays justly deserve attention - I would single out Wilde and Gunn - some seem wasted effort and the essay on Elisabeth Bishop sadly stands out among them. Some of them have an agenda (e.g. essay on Casement concentrates on the issue of his infamous, and quite probably forged, "Black Diary", offering very little of Casement's life), some only seem to ramble (e.g. Mann and Baldwin). Probably the most interesting is the final essay which is purportedly a review of two books on the demise of the power of the Roman Catholic Church in modern Ireland but, actually, offers a lot of Toibin's personal recollections of the process.
I am not trying to suggest that you should not buy this book (especially if you are a Toibin's fan!) but if you choose to do so buy for it for what it actually is and not for what the publisher attempts to sell. Otherwise you may be just as disappointed as I was.
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