Glances Backward
An Anthology of American Homosexual Writing, 1830-1920
  • Publication Date: September 21, 2006
  • ISBN: 9781551117287 / 1551117282
  • 414 pages; 6" x 9"

Note on pricing.

Request Exam Copy

Examination copy policy

Availability: Worldwide

Glances Backward

An Anthology of American Homosexual Writing, 1830-1920

  • Publication Date: September 21, 2006
  • ISBN: 9781551117287 / 1551117282
  • 414 pages; 6" x 9"

Glances Backward brings together in one volume a broad selection of nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century American writings about gay male love, including love stories, Westerns, ghostly tales, poetry, drama, essays, letters, and memoirs.

Many of these works, such as The Cult of the Purple Rose, the story of a gay alliance at 1890s Harvard, are reprinted here for the first time since their original publication. Henry Blake Fuller’s “Allisonian Classical Academy” has until now been available only in manuscript form.

In addition to works by lesser-known authors, selections by Henry James, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Horatio Alger, Jr., Jack London, and Willa Cather are included.


Glances Backward breaks new ground in gay studies. The anthology explores the full range of writing about gay males from before the Civil War to just after the First World War. In its treatment of largely unknown and inaccessible texts—from overwrought expressions of romantic friendship to modern diatribes against homosexuals as poor insurance risks—it offers the best scholarly introduction to the period when homosexuality was just finding its voice. It is a landmark text, necessary not only for queer scholars but for any student of American literature.” — David Van Leer, University of California, Davis

“This is an astonishing array of writing about same-sex relations. James Gifford is a scholar who leaves no archival page unturned, and he has put together an anthology that all readers can turn to for discovery, delight, and a deeper appreciation of American history and culture.” — David Bergman, Towson University

“A recognizably ‘gay’ American culture is a lot older, and a lot richer, than we thought—and here is the archive to prove it! This anthology brings together for the first time the major and minor voices of queer American literature, who together represent an astonishing range of experience, hope, and desire.” — Eric Savoy, Universite de Montreal



Edward Prime-Stevenson
From “Out of the Sun” (1913)
From The Intersexes (1908)

Part II: Two-Spirit People

Slim Curly
From “The Mothway Myth” (recorded 1930)
John Tanner
From A Narrative of the Captivity and Adventures of John Tanner (1830)
George Catlin
“Dance to the Berdashe” (1844)

Part III: Luck, Pluck, and a Kindly Mentor

Walt Whitman
“The Child’s Champion” (1841)
Selected Poems
Horatio Alger, Jr.
From Charlie Codman’s Cruise (1866)
Harry Enton
From Young Sleuth, the Keen Detective (1877)
Howard Pyle
From The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (1883)

Part IV: Schooldays

Frederick Wadsworth Loring
From Two College Friends (1871)
Henry Blake Fuller
From The Allisonian Classical Academy (1876)
Charles Macomb Flandrau
From Harvard Episodes (1897)
Shirley Everton Johnson
From The Cult of the Purple Rose (1902)

Part V: The Oscar Model

“Wilde in Utica” (1882)
Earl Lind
“The Case of Oscar Wilde” (1918)

Part VI: Arcadia

Bayard Taylor
From Poems of the Orient (1855)
From The Poet’s Journal (1863)
From Joseph and His Friend (1870)
Charles Warren Stoddard
“Pearl-Hunting in the Pomotous” (1873)
Henry James
“The Great Good Place” (1909)

Part VII: The Domestic Homosexual

Howard Overing-Sturgis
From Belchamber (1905)
George Santayana
From Persons and Places (1986)

Part VIII: Haunted

Henry Blake Fuller
At St. Judas’s (1896)
Gertrude Atherton
“The Striding Place” (1896)
George Sylvester Viereck
From Nineveh and Other Poems (1908)
From The Candle and the Flame (1912)

Part IX: Purloined Popular Fiction

Bret Harte
“Tennessee’s Partner” (1869)
“Jim” (1870)
Thomas Bailey Aldrich
“Marjorie Daw” (1873)
Henry Cuyler Bunner
“Our Aromatic Uncle” (1895)
Edward Prime-Stevenson
From Mrs. Dee’s Encore (1896)
Jack London
“The White Silence” (1899)
James Weldon Johnson
From The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912)
Edward Prime-Stevenson
Aquae Multae Non—” (1913)

Part X: Of Hearts Thrown Open

Fitz-Greene Halleck
Selected Poems
James Whitcomb Riley
“Good-Bye, Jim” (1893)
Bliss Carman and Richard Hovey
From Songs from Vagabondia (1894)
Edward Perry Warren
From Itamos (1903)
George Edward Woodberry
From Selected Poems
Trumbull Stickney
Selected Poems
George Cabot Lodge
From Poems and Dramas (1911)
George Santayana
Selected Poems

Part XI: Doctors, Case Studies, and Erotopaths

James Mills Peirce
From Sexual Inversion “Letter from ‘Professor X’” (1897)
Claude Hartland
From The Story of a Life (1901)
Willa Cather
“Paul’s Case: A Study in Temperament” (1905)
William Lee Howard
“Effeminate Men and Masculine Women” (1900)
“The Sexual Pervert in Life Insurance” (1906)
Earl Lind
From The Autobiography of an Androgyne (1918)

Part XII: Men in Groups

Josiah Flynt Willard
Homosexuality Among Tramps (1897)
Morris Schaff
From The Spirit of Old West Point (1907)
Alexander Berkman
From Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist (1912)

Part XIII: To You Alone

Herman Melville
Two Letters to Nathaniel Hawthorne (1851)
Francis Davis Millet
Letters to Charles Warren Stoddard (1875)
Bernard X.
“A Merry Christmas” (1887)
Clyde Fitch
Letter to DeWitt Miller (1891)
George Sylvester Viereck
Letter to George E. Woodberry (ca. 1912)

Bibliography and Suggestions for Further Reading

James Gifford is Professor of Humanities at Mohawk Community College in Utica, New York. He is the editor of Imre: A Memorandum, by Edward Prime-Stevenson.