London and the Culture of Homosexuality explores the relationship between London and male homosexuality from the criminalization of all 'acts of gross indecency' between men in 1885 to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 - years marked by an intensification in concern about male-male relationships and also by the emergence of an embryonic homosexual rights movement. Taking his cue from literary and lesbian and gay scholars, urban historians and cultural geographers, Matt Cook combines discussion of London's homosexual subculture and various major and minor scandals with a detailed examination of representations in the press, in science and in literature. The conjunction of approaches used in this study provides insights into the development of ideas about the modern homosexual and into the many different ways of comprehending and taking part in London's culture of homosexuality.
• This study offers a reappraisal of urban life and gay culture during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries • Sheds light on the relationship between class, homosexuality and the city • Refers to a wide range of sources including literature, contemporary press and scientific theories
Illustrations; Tables; Acknowledgments; Abbreviations; Note on terminology; Introduction; 1. London and the cities of the plain; 2. The grossly indecent city; 3. The inverted city; 4. The decadent city; 5. The Hellenic city; Epilogue: public spaces/private lives.
Review of the hardback: 'The book draws on literary scholarship as well as lesbian, gay or queer theory. It deploys urban geography as easily as the new social history. Cook does not have to prove the value of the topic. He can deploy it to bring to life a moment of history on the cusp of radical change.' The Times Higher Education Supplement
From the hardback review: '… despite taking a very broad interdisciplinary approach to its subject, finds its main strength in providing and examining just this wealth of neglected details, often bringing them to bear on quite well-known events in an extremely illuminating way. … an essential sourcebook for any student of the homosexual culture of this period, whether studying the arts, the sciences, or politics.' MLR