- Paperback: 128 pages
- Publisher: British Museum Press; 01 edition (10 Jun. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0714151009
- ISBN-13: 978-0714151007
- Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 1.1 x 18.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 70,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A Little Gay History: Desire and Diversity across the World Paperback – 10 Jun 2013
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"From the same-sex acrobatics of the Warren Cup to the god-meets-goat encounter in Pompeii, the British Museum takes a gleefully frisky view of humankind's erotic past... A Little Gay History, by R.B. Parkinson, scans the museum's collections for objects that show the complexity of desire in world cultures. From Indian gods to Emperor Hadrian, it proves that, if you swear by ancient tradition in matters of love and sex, you'll end up in the queerest spots".
Winner of Best New General Publication Association for Cultural Enterprises --Boyd Tonkin, The Independent
About the Author
R. B. Parkinson, a curator of ancient Egyptian culture at the British Museum, is internationally recognized as a specialist in ancient Egyptian poetry. His other publications include Voices from Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of Middle Kingdom Writings; The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems, 1940-1640 B.C.; and Poetry and Culture in Middle Kingdom Egypt: A Dark Side to Perfection.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
I found the `first recorded gay kiss' of Niankhkhunum and Khnumhoptep in ancient Egypt and the fragmented poems of Sappo, the poetess from Lesbos, really interesting. I liked how the book invited the reader to look at several of the more ambiguous objects, like the Ain Sakhri figures, through a neutral lens, rather then assuming everything from a heterosexual point of view. I was also really intrigued by the romance between Emperor Hadrian and Antinous. The androgyny present in the both figures of Shiva, the dancing god and Lakshminarayan was engrossing to read about, especially coming from a European culture that tends to place emphasis on a strictly male god. The Native American memorial hanging to commemorate those who died from HIV/AIDS was particularly moving.
A small niggle for me was from the introduction in the line up of gay historical figures (p.24-5) there is some evidence to contradict claims that one or two of them predominantly preferred same-sex relationships, such as Richard the Lionheart, who had at least one illegitimate son and reputedly enjoyed the attentions of women. However, this is a very small criticism, which did not effect my overall enjoyment of the book.
I would recommend this book, as it was an absorbing read. I especially enjoyed the different depictions of love and relationships outside of what many past and (sadly) present societies have deemed `normal'.
The slim paperback offers a taster of the delights of history often glossed over or ignored. The author wears his (considerable) learning lightly as he highlights the parts of the British Museum's collection that indicate the possibility (and limitations) of same sex relationships across time and space. The book has grown out of years of work by the Museum and reads like something that has been well worked and adapted for a broad audience to appreciate. Importantly the book avoids the trap of reading modern understandings of sexual 'identities' backwards and so isn't shy about the ambiguity of potential historical 'gay icons'. That said it would make a great gift for someone 'coming out' and I certainly wish that I'd had access to a book like this sooner.
If like me the dull worthiness of other 'Gay history' books has all but put you off the topic do give this book a go. It is well informed, amusing and thought provoking. It made me feel pride; in its presentation, tone and the history it explores.
Probably a once read, but certainly is a good starter for further investigations and the author does give a list of further suggested reading. It will certainly inspire me to take a trip to the British Museum!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A Little Gay History: Desire and Diversity across the World, demonstrates the fact that relationships and sexual partners do not have to be differentiated by gender and have not... Read morePublished on 9 Oct. 2014 by I. Longhurst
the title is the give away.the book scims the surface but does so nicely.I will never ,should I meet one look at a Samurai in quite the same way again.Published on 2 Jun. 2014 by ttrav
This book is small in stature (the clue is in the name) but it has a lot of interesting, fun facts about the history of homosexuality. Read morePublished on 17 Dec. 2013 by Richard Madgin
What a lovely little book. 123 pages of captivating writing and well chosen illustrations, for such a small book it packs a lot in and I spent a very pleasant couple of evenings... Read morePublished on 5 Dec. 2013 by K. Galbraith
An excellent coffee-table book that is full of interesting facts from 9000BC to the present. It also contains nice pictures and some history. Read morePublished on 5 Dec. 2013 by Mahesh
I was fascinated by this slim volume, which is based around the artifacts from the British Museum and how they relate, or could be interpreted to relate, to a... Read morePublished on 28 Nov. 2013 by Stealth Reviewer
A little book it is, at 123 pages, but filled with fabulous photos & illustrations & interesting facts about Gay relationships, male/male & female/female, throughout history. Read morePublished on 25 Nov. 2013 by Mr. K. Cross
Just to put my review into perspective, I'm not gay, although I do have gay friends and family members and do take an interest in all things LGBT. Read morePublished on 21 Nov. 2013 by Junior Hornet
This book is really fascinating. Once I got past the 30 page introduction that is!
The book takes you through LGBT history, from around 9,000BC right up to the present... Read more