This book demonstrates a fruitful cross-fertilisation of ideas between British queer history and art history. It engages with self-identified lesbians and with another highly important source for queer history: oral history. The book highlights the international dimension of what to date has been told as a classic British tale of homosexual law reform and also illuminates the choices made and constraints imposed at the national level. It embarks on a queer critical history, arguing for the centrality, in John Everett Millais's life-writing, of the strange-to-us category of unconventionality. The book aims to expose the queer implications of celebrity gossip writing. It offers a historical analysis of the link between homosexual men and gossip by examining the origins of the gossip column in the British tabloid press in the three decades after 1910. The book provides an overview of the emergence and consolidation of a number of new discourses of homosexuality as a social practice in postwar Britain. It explores a British variant on homophile internationalism before and immediately after the 1967 Sexual Offences Act by mapping Grey's cross-border connections while noting strain against transnational solidarity. The book focuses on evidence collected by the 1977 Committee on Obscenity and Film Censorship to illustrate how gay men conceptualised the place of pornography in their lives and its role in the broader struggle for the freedom.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book begins with a topic of concern to all the authors: the effective interrogation of archival sources in pursuit of British queer history. It demonstrates a fruitful cross-fertilisation of ideas between queer history and art history. The book describes a meticulous reading of Katherine Everett's life-story, Bricks and Flowers. It presents dandyish world of the gossip columnist in British national newspapers and magazines between 1910 and the Second World War. The book provides one of the most significant examples of the 'altericist reaction' fomented by the new British queer history. It highlights the international dimension of what to date has been told as a classic British tale of homosexual law reform, but also illuminates the choices made and constraints imposed at the national level.