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Love in a Dark Time

Love in a Dark Time

In Love in a Dark Time, Colm Tóibín appraises the life and work of nine highly influential writers and artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. These were figures for whom being gay seemed to come second in their public lives, either by choice or by necessity – but in their private lives, in their own spirit, the laws of desire changed everything.

From Oscar Wilde, born in the 1850s, to Pedro Almodovar, born a hundred years later, this book studies how a changing world altered gay lives in ways both subtle and profound. Tóibín is drawn with sympathetic fascination to each of his subjects: to Elizabeth Bishop and her artistic triumph over her demons; to James Baldwin, whose own agent advised him to burn the manuscript for Giovanni’s Room; to Francis Bacon for his refusal to play the role of the “tragic queer”; to unlovable Thomas Mann, victim of his biographers. Colm Tóibín interweaves close reading of the artist’s work with detailed analysis of the personality behind it to illuminating effect.