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Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – Rauer Buchschnitt, 18. November 2014
|Rauer Buchschnitt - "Rough Cut"|
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"Excellent and richly documented. . . . The significance of Beachy's book goes beyond his findings on the German roots of the conclusion that homosexuality is a biologically fixed trait. Beachy's work must also be considered in the larger context of a shift in cultural studies." –V.R. Berghahn, New York Times Book Review
"Beachy's cultivation of the 'other' Germany, heterogeneous and progressive, is especially welcome. . . . At the same time, Beachy enlarges our understanding of how the international gay-rights movement eventually prospered, despite the setbacks that it experienced not only in Nazi Germany but also in mid-century America." –Alex Ross, The New Yorker
"An elucidating, somewhat startling study of how early German tolerance and liberalism encouraged homosexual expression. . . . A brave new work of compelling research." –Kirkus
"This lucidly written narrative includes enough spice (accounts of scandals, secret identities, and crimes) to draw in a general readership. However, Beachy’s deeply researched, carefully structured book is foremost an impressive piece of scholarship." –Publishers Weekly (starred)
"A superb work of historical reclamation–by far the best account we have of the formative years of homosexual identity and emancipation, it is brilliantly researched and beautifully written." –Martin Duberman, Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus, CUNY
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Robert Beachy was trained as a German historian at the University of Chicago, where he received his PhD in 1998. He is presently associate professor of history at the Underwood International College of Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.
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due in history of Gay Movement / Rather dry, repetitive, far
too many cases given as examples (less is more I should say)
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These publications were the foundation of the material summarized in the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality, which appeared in New York in 1990.
Beachy does offer an innovation of a sort. He accepts the Social Constructionist view that the modern homosexual identity emerged in the second half of the nineteenth century. However, he wishes to shift the primary locus of that change from Britain, France and the US to Germany, specifically to Berlin. The reason it seems is the interaction of two factors: an upsurge of elite scholarly and medical writing, some of it by homosexuals themselves; and the flowering of a bar and entertainment subculture. The last was swept away after 1933, to be reinvented after World War II. As for the writings, some of which I have mentioned above, their circulation was limited to a small circle of intellectuals. It is not clear how these two disparate factors interacted to produce a new identity. Now somewhat dated, the identity thesis is itself questionable, inasmuch as human beings have engaged in same-sex acts from time immemorial.
Some have complained that all this is ancient history - of only antiquarian interest. What does this stuff have to do with us? There are in fact several connections. In 1924 when Henry Gerber started the first (unfortunately temporary) gay rights group in Chicago. he was specifically imitating the German groups. As a soldier, Gerber had been stationed with the US Army in Germany. Later, when it was launched in LA, the gay movement as we came to know it adopted the term "homophile." This expression was invented by a German, a man named Karl-Günther Heimsoth: via Isherwood and others the adjective came to circulate among the LA founders. Finally, Kinsey amassed a large collection of the German books, some of which he had translated for the use of his own group. Kinsey also emulated Hirschfeld's system of gathering masses of case histories.
My only complaint about this book is that I wish there were more personal stories. I realize the Nazis destroyed many records. However, I wonder if Mr. Beachy could have found more personal histories in the memoirs of Isherwood, Auden, Spender, etc. who spent time in Berlin during this period.
If you are interested in gay history then this is a must for your library.