Joseph Geraci, an American writer living in the Netherlands, earned his place in the pantheon of sexual scholarship as the editor, and one of the founders, of Paidika: The Journal of Paedophilia. He also edited Dares To Speak: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Boy-Love, a book that drew together and extended selected aspects of Paidikas work. He is the author of four novels and is also a dealer in archives, books, and vintage photographs.
Geraci developed the idea of launching a scholarly journal about pedophilia after moving to Amsterdam in 1986, and he succeeded in bringing out the first issue in the following year.
Paidika sought "to examine the range of cultural, historical, psychological, and literary issues pertaining to consensual adult-child sexual relationships and desires" and attempted to create a "history of record". Its nearly 30-strong editorial board included such scholars as, from America, historian Vern Bullough, psychologist John DeCecco, and editor of the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality Wayne Dynes; and, from Europe, jurist Edward Brongersma, psychologist Frits Bernard, sociologist Gert Hekma, social psychologist Theo Sandfort and Marjan Sax, political scientist and feminist.
In both appearance and contents, which were peer-reviewed, Geraci's creation was an academic journal of a quality fit to grace any university library. Twelve issues appeared from 1987 to 1995.
Sadly, to a great extent Geraci's fine achievement proved to be as pearls cast before swine. Paidika was often attacked as a "pedophile magazine", thereby undermining the credibility of the research published by the journal.
Soon after Paidika's demise Geraci edited a book, Dares to speak: Historical and contemporary Perspectives on Boy-love (Gay Men's Press, 1997), which included articles from the journal. This work included an extensive annotated literature guide written in part by Geraci himself. It was a wide-ranging endeavour, with separate sections on Autobiography, Biography, Art, Childhood, History, Literary criticism, Novels, Plays, Poetry, Short stories, Sexuality studies and Social studies.
The strong literary flavour to the review reflected Geraci's own interests. His four novels are all suffused with boy-love themes, but the concerns of the later ones, especially, go much wider.
Joseph Geraci "Loving Sander" (Swaffham, Norfolk, 1997)
The first, Loving Sander, appeared in 1997, and is about an American photography scholar working in Holland and the 10-year-old son of colleagues there. Prof. Hubert Kennedy described it as "a moving story of a special love". This was followed in 2001 by Marrying Tom. Two boys in a small American community, aged 16 and 13, belong to rival gangs but are drawn together.
A warmly realistic novel about an American professor who has an affair with a twelve-year-old Dutch boy while visiting Holland.
- An American photography scholar working in Holland has befriended the ten-year-old son of colleagues there. Over the next two years, Will is increasingly caught up in tensions between Sander’s mother Marijke and her estranged husband Niek over his growing intimacy with Sander. And the boy himself – lovable but difficult – is ever more demanding. As Sander’s twelfth birthday draws near, Will has to decide whether to return to San Francisco and the security of an academic life, or remain in Amsterdam, where he must face the risks of his friendship and Sander’s expressed need for him.
Quote from the book
- I had gone upstairs to read Sander his story, but he still had too much energy to lie in bed quietly and fall gradually into sleep. He was teasing me and making too much noise, making a trampoline of his bed, pouncing on me, squeezing me around my neck and trying to make me fall backwards. I wrested his arms free and, holding him by the wrists, tried to get him off me and pin him down on the bed. He struggled like a fierce cat, even tried to bite me.
- Marijke shouted upstairs, "Who's not going to bed?" He became quite quiet, his lips closed tightly, a determined look furrowing his brow. I let go of his arms. His pajamas were hunching up his body. He immediately tried to tickle me, grabbing at my stomach, my sides. Buttons came, or were, undone, mine, his. I started tickling him instead. He shouted at top volume, "Help! Help! Stop! Stop! Help." I found his bare stomach and scrambled my fingertips over it, but he screamed so loudly I stopped. He was hunched in a ball, looking up at me panting, his face red, and then quite deliberately he stretched out his legs in order, I think, to show me he had an erection, pushing out towards my hand. He put an arm behind his head. I did not know what to do, but suddenly without thinking, I hugged him. Smiling embarrassedly he scrambled beneath the covers.
- When I went downstairs Marijke asked what all the noise had been about and I said, "Rough-housing."
In The Deaf-Mute Boy (2006), Geraci expands his boy-love theme to include an engagement with wider social issues. This tale finds an American archaeologist drawn into a maze of Tunisian politics, culture, and religion. It became the University of Wisconsin Press entry for the PEN/Faulkner Award 2007. Peter Lamborn Wilson (Hakim Bey) said the novel "is a devastatingly accurate portrayal of the reality behind the modern tourism facade" of Tunisia.
The Path of the Gods (2009) takes the reader back to 5th century BC Athens. While Ancient Greece is literally the classic setting for boy-love literature, the theme of a youth's friendship with Socrates is here a vehicle for discussing fate and religion. Why did the gods ordain — if they did — the great philosopher's execution?
Geraci has also published essays about the orientalist photography studios working in North Africa between 1850-1920.
Source for the above: http://www.williamapercy.com/wiki/index.php?title=Category:Geraci,_Joseph
Daniel Cavanagh & Joseph Geraci - The Passage (2013)
- Here’s a fascinating album that came my way through a newfound interest in the music of the band Anathema — quite recent interest, in fact. Anathema started in the early nineties making doom metal, a subgenre of metal characterized by slow, very melancholy songs and extremely dark, gothic lyrics. Over time the band’s music has gradually metamorphosed from a vibe of pretty absolute hopelessness to one of, if not optimism, then at least a determined interest in finding meaning in the tragedies and joys of life. The result has been a series of albums characterized by simple but highly effective and heartfelt lyrics that meld with grand yet ethereal rock, driven by piano and string arrangements.[...]
- The spoken word audio on that song is derived from a series of interviews conducted by researchers in 1977 on the subject of near-death experiences. Geraci, a New Englander, had one such experience after an accident and told his story.[...]
- Anyway, this is a melding of Geraci’s words and Cavanagh’s music. Geraci’s voice has not changed much with time, with the same stoic, matter-of-fact tone. Some readings are done by Heather Huddleston, another American. The theme is, of course, the passage from life to death, or from one state of being to another (us Zen types do not consider death the cessation of life but just another transition, as birth is).
The Deaf-Mute Boy (book) by Joseph Geraci (may be viewed/downloaded)
- 3-minute excerpt from "The Passage":