The American Byron: Homosexuality and the Fall of Fitz-Greene Halleck

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University of Wisconsin Press, 2000 - Literary Criticism - 226 pages
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Hailed in the mid-nineteenth century as the most important American poet of the period, Fitz-Greene Halleck was a close friend of William C. Bryant, an associate of Charles Dickens and Washington Irving, and a celebrity sought out by John Jacob Astor and American presidents. Halleck, an attractive man of wit and charm, was dubbed "the American Byron" because he both employed similar poetic strategies and challenged the most sacred institutions of his day. A large general readership enjoyed his verse, though it was infused with homosexual themes. Indeed, Halleck's love for another man would be fictionalized in Bayard Taylor's novel Joseph and His Friend a century before the Stonewall riots.
In this insightful cultural biography, John W. M. Hallock (a distant relative) portrays Fitz-Greene as a prophet of the literary and sexual revolution of which Walt Whitman would be the messiah. The first biographical study of Halleck in more than fifty years, The American Byron traces the path to glory and eventual radical decanonization of America's earliest homosexual poet.

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THE AMERICAN BYRON: Homosexuality and the Fall of Fitz-Greene Halleck

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In his new study of a 19th-century American poet, Hallock uncovers convincing evidence that homophobic critics forced him into selfcensorship, isolation, and, ultimately, silence. Are we talking about ... Read full review

The American Byron: homosexuality and the fall of Fitz-Greene Halleck

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More a social than a poetic genius, Halleck, a favorite of such establishment figures as Charles Dickens, William C. Bryant, and Washington Irving, published satirical verses (often co-written with ... Read full review

Contents

Notes
177
Bibliography
196
Index
217
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