Image of two men kissingEssays on Gay History and Literature by Rictor Norton

Biography of Rictor Norton

Rictor Norton Ph.D.   Social and literary historian and writer, specializing in gay history. Born 25 June 1945, Friendship, New York, USA; Education: Florida Southern College, BA 1967; Florida State University, MA, PhD 1972. Doctoral dissertation on homosexual themes in English Renaissance literature, published as The Homosexual Literary Tradition (1972). Career: Instructor, Florida State University, 1970-72. Member of the Gay Liberation Front, Florida, 1971-72, campaigned against Florida's sodomy statute. Edited The Homosexual Imagination, a special issue of College English, the first all-gay issue of an academic journal, 1974; introduction "The Homophobic Imagination" reproduced on Norton's website. Emigrated from Florida to London in 1973. Research Editor for the fortnightly news journal Gay News, London, 1974-78. Wrote articles on gay history and literature for Gay Sunshine, The Advocate, Gay News, etc. during the 1970s, and for Gay Times later. Published academic articles in Renascence, American Imago, Yearbook of Comparative and General Literature, the London Journal, etc. Was the Foreign Rights Manager for Western Publishing Company (Golden Books), 1979-90. Freelance publishing consultant 1991-94; freelance writer and editor since 1995. Author of books on gay history and on the Gothic Novel, including the highly acclaimed Mother Clap's Molly House: The Gay Subculture in England, 1700-1830 (1992), My Dear Boy: Gay Love Letters through the Centuries (ed.) (1997), The Myth of the Modern Homosexual (1997), a critique of social constructionism; a biography of the Gothic novelist Ann Radcliffe (1999); an anthology of Gothic Literature (2000); and several facsimile collections of eighteenth-century British erotica for Pickering and Chatto, Sex Doctors and Sex Crimes (2002) and Sodomites, Mollies, Sapphists and Tommies (2004). He is a contributor of entries to Who's Who in Gay & Lesbian History (Routledge, 2001) and a contributor to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. He maintains an extensive website on Gay History and Literature, with large subsections on Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook and on the "father of gay history" John Addington Symonds, as well as a non-gay site on Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports: A Sourcebook. In December 2005 he formed a civil partnership with his partner of nearly thirty years. He spoke at the launch of Britain's LGBT History Month February 2006.

Photo of Rictor Norton

Books written by Rictor Norton

Gothic Readings: The First Wave 1764-1840
London: Leicester University Press, 2000.

Mistress of Udolpho: The Life of Ann Radcliffe
London: Leicester University Press, 1999.

The Myth of the Modern Homosexual: Queer History and the Search for Cultural Unity
London: Cassell, 1997.

My Dear Boy: Gay Love Letters through the Centuries
San Francisco: Gay Sunshine Press, 1998.

Mother Clap's Molly House: The Gay Subculture in England 1700-1830
London: Gay Men's Press, 1992.
Second Edition, Revised and Enlarged, London: Chalfont Press/Tempus Publishing, 2006.

The Homosexual Literary Tradition: An Interpretation
New York: Revisionist Press, 1974.

Essays reprinted in Gay Roots:
Gay London in the 1720s; Ganymede Raped - The Critic as Censor; Reflections on the Gay Movement; The Passions of Michelangelo; Hard Gemlike Flame: Walter Pater and His Circle; The Historical Roots of Homophobia (containing material not previously published). Ed. Winston Leyland, San Francisco: Gay Sunshine Press, Vol. I, 1991; Vol. II, 1993.

Early articles written by Rictor Norton (listed chronologically)

The Male Bond in Renaissance Literature
(Richard Barnfield) There's A Place for Us, 1, 1 (1971), 8.
The Turn of the Screw: Coincidentia Oppositorum
(Henry James's Turn of the Screw), American Imago, 28, 4 (1971), 373-390.
Folklore and Myth in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
(Edward Albee's play) Renascence, 23, 3 (1971), 159-167.
The Homosexual as Outsider
Share, 30 November 1971, 10.
Aesthetic Gothic Horror
Yearbook of Comparative and General Literature, 21 (1972), 31-40.
Daemons in the Lavender Forest
Embryo, 1, 5 (1972), 21, 24.
An Open Letter
To the Florida State Legislature Concerning a Change in the Sodomy Statutes. Privately printed, Tallahassee, Florida, 1972.
Literature and Obscenity and the Wild Earl of Rochester
California Scene, 3, 8 (January 1972-73), 33-4.
The Fool of Fonthill
(William Beckford), Advocate, 23 (1973). Revised and reprinted in Gay News 41 (1973), 9.
Gay Genius: Bacon Rose High Under Queen James
(Sir Francis Bacon) Advocate, 119 (1973), 39. Reprinted in Gay News 31 (1973), 11.
Blessed Are the Puer in Heart (Rev E. E. Bradford)
Gay News, 33 (1973), 15.
Gay Tales of Terror
(Gay gothic novelists), Gay News 34 (1973), 10.
Ganymede in Renaissance Literature
Gay Sunshine, 19 (1973), 16.
In the Days When Monks Were Mad (about each other)
(Medieval gay poetry), Gay, 4, 94 (1973), 14.
Whitman a Closet Case
(Carpenter celebrated joy of gay love in his poems) Advocate, 111 (1973), 26.
The Case of Mervyn Touchet
Gay News 50 (1974), 13. Reprinted as "Well, I'll Be Buggered": Merv lost his head over boys in bed", Advocate, 138 (1974), 38-9.
Ganymede Raped: Gay Literature - Critic as Censor
Gay Sunshine, 23 (November-December 1974), 12-13, 26. Revised and reprinted in The Male Homosexual in Literature: A Bibliography, ed. Ian Young. Metuchen, New Jersey: Scarecrow Press, 1975, pp. 193-205.
Hard Gemlike Flame: Walter Pater and His Circle
Gay Sunshine, 21 (1974), 14-15.
The Homosexual Literary Tradition
(Course Outline and Objectives) College English, 35 (1974), 674-92. Presentation to the 62nd Annual Convention of the National Council of Teachers of English in November 1972. Excerpts were published in NCTE's Convention Concerns, 1973, pp. 11-12..
The Homosexual Imagination
(ed. with Louie Crew) Special gay issue of College English, 36, 3 (November 1974). National Council of Teachers of English, Urbana, Illinois.
The Homophobic Imagination: An Editorial
College English: The Homosexual Imagination, special issue (1974), 272-90.
An Interview with Eric Bentley
College English: The Homosexual Imagination, special issue (1974), 291-302.
The Origins of the Male Nude in Photographic Art
(or, The Beginnings of Beefcake) (Baron von Gloeden) Gay News 45 (1974), 10-11.
The Phoenix of Sodom
(Position-paper on gay history) Gay News 47 (1974), 12.
Walt Whitman: Prophet of Gay Liberation
Gay News 48 (1974), 10-11.
Educating the educators
(Prejudice in modern educational institutions) Gay News 54 (1974).
Trials at the Old Bailey
Quorum, 2, 10 (1974), 20-3.
Anatomy of Prejudice
(Interview with George Weinberg) Gay News 56 (1975), 13-14, 20.
The Biblical Roots of Homophobia
In Towards a Theology of Gay Liberation, London: Student Christian Movement, 1975, pp. 3-6.
Boys will be Girls will be Boys
(Transvestism in Renaissance literature) Quorum, 3, 1-2 (1975), 20-3.
Cocteau's White Paper on Homophobia
Gay Sunshine, 25 (1975), 10-11.
The Facts of Nature
(Advice on sexuality) Quorum, 3, 3-4 (1975), 39-41, 68
Neither Angels Nor Devils: Queen James and His Courtiers
Gay News 60 (1974), 13-14. (A revision of "Bacon Rose High" etc. from the Advocate.
A History of Homophobia
Phase 1: Homophobia and the Ancient Hebrews, Gay News 64 (1975), 11, 14.
A History of Homophobia
Phase 2: The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Gay News 68 (1975), 11-12.
A History of Homophobia
Phase 3: The Dark Ages, Gay News 73 (1975) 10.
A History of Homophobia
Phase 4: Gay Heretics & Witches, Gay News 87 (1976), 15-16.
Are Lesbians Better Adjusted?
Gay News 65 (1975), 12.
Naturens egna Lagar
Revolt, 19 (1975), 22-3, 73 (translation of "The Facts of Nature" from Quorum.
The Passions of Michelangelo
Gay News 65 (1975), 13-14.
Prejudice Against Homosexuals
Patterns of Prejudice 9, 4 (July-August 1975), 7-12.
The Raid on Mother Clap's
Quorum 3, 5-6 (August 1975), 32-5, 63.
Thistlethwayte & Swinton - A Gay Detective Story, 1739
Gay News 58 (1975), 11, 20.
Young Hung Stud Seeks Same
The Myths Behind the Wanton Ads, Gay News 69 (1975), 15.
Are Gays Healthier Than Hets?
Interview with Mark Freedman, Gay News 81 (1975), 11-12.
"One Day They Were Simply Gone"
Gays under the Nazis, Gay News 82 (1975), 13-14, 23.
Gay Tombs in Westminster Abbey
Gay News 85 (1975), 17.
Taking a "Husband"
(History of gay marriage ceremonies) Gay News 89 (1976), 17.
In Defence of Varied Interests
Gay News 91 (1976) 16.
Little Lord Keeper
Gay News 100 (1976), 29.
A Child of Peculiar Providence
(Rev John Church) Gay News 109 (1976), 19.
Cupid: Sweet-Faced Boy or Shame-Faced Catamite?
(Renaissance literature) Gay News 118 (1977), 22-3.
A History of Homoerotica
1: Problems of Pornography, Gay News 127, (1977), 21-22.
A History of Homoerotica
2: High Moral Climates, Gay News 130 (1977).
A History of Homoerotica
3: Do What Thou Wilt, Gay News 132 (1977).
A Visit to Fonthill
(William Beckford's estate in Wiltshire) Gay News 133 (1977/8), 32-3.
Lesbian Pirates?
(Ann Bonney and Mary Read) Gay News 147 (1978), 21-2.
Gay Heritage
(Beckford, Southampton etc.) Gay News 147 (1978) 16.
Gay Heritage
(Buckingham, Sackville-West etc.) Gay News 148 (1978), 27.
Gay Heritage
(Hampshire worthies) Gay News 150 (1978), 20.

(Book Reviews and Regular Columns are not listed.)

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