Reading list category History of Boylove

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Essential Reading

The following six books represent a concise, high-quality introduction to the history of boylove:

  • BASIC DOCUMENTS: Homosexuality in Greece and Rome - A Sourcebook of Basic Documents (2003) by Thomas K. Hubbard.
  • OVERVIEW: Greek Love (1971) by J.Z. Eglinton.
  • ANCIENT GREECE: Greek Homosexuality (1978) by Kenneth Dover.
  • ANCIENT ROME: Roman Homosexuality (2010) by Craig A. Williams.
  • RENAISSANCE: Forbidden Friendships. Homosexuality and Male Culture in Renaissance Florence (1996) by Michael Rocke.
  • BRITISH EMPIRE: Empire and Sexuality: The British Experience (1990) by Ronald Hyam.

A more comprehensive list of books dealing with the history of boylove:


  • Greek Love (1971) by J.Z. Eglinton. Looks at the history of boy-love from Greece through to the present.
  • Loving Boys 2 vols (1986) by Edward Brongersma. Volume 1, p.67-87, contains an overview of the history of man-boy relationships.
  • The Rite of Sodomy 5 vols (2011) by Randy Engel. Volume 1.
  • The Beautiful Boy (2003) by Germaine Greer. Examines the history of beautiful boys in art.
  • Phallos: A symbol and its History in the Male World (1969) by Thorkil Vanggaard.
  • Passions of the Cut Sleeve: The Male Homosexual Tradition in China (1990), by Bret Hinsch.
  • The Love of the Samurai: a thousand years of Japanese homosexuality (1989) by Tsuneo Watanabe & Jun'ichi Iwata.

Ancient Greece

  • Greek Homosexuality (1978) by Kenneth Dover.
  • Pederasty and Pedagogy in Archaic Greece (1996) by William Armstrong Percy III.
  • A Defence of Uranian Love (2009) by Edward Perry Warren.
  • Images of Ancient Greek Pederasty. Boys were their Gods (2008) by Andrew Lear & Eva Cantarella.
  • The Gay Greek Myths (2002) by Andrew Calimach.

Ancient Greece and Rome

  • Homosexuality in Greece and Rome: a sourcebook of basic documents (2003) by Thomas K. Hubbard.
  • Bisexuality in the Ancient World (1992) by Eva Cantarella.
  • The Crucifixion of Hyacinth (2000) by Geoff Puterbaugh.

Ancient Rome

  • Roman Homosexuality (2010) by Craig A. Williams.
  • Beloved and God: The Story of Hadrian and Antinous (1984) by Royston Lambert.


  • Forbidden Friendships: Homosexuality and Male Culture in Renaissance Florence (1998)
  • Ganymede in the Renaissance (1986) by James M. Saslow.


  • The Age of the Beloveds (2005) by W.A. Andrews & Mehmet Kalpakli. Introduces 16th Century Ottoman culture through a study of lyric love poetry.


  • Male Colors: The Constructions of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan (1997) by Gary Leupp. Homosexuality in Japan, 1603-1868.
  • The Great Mirror of Male Love (1991) by Ihara Saikaku. A collection of 40 stories describing homosexual love affairs between samurai men and boys and between young kabuki actors and their middle-class patrons.


  • Boys at Sea (2007) by B.R. Burg. A study of homoerotic life in the Royal Navy during the age of sail.


  • Empire and Sexuality: The British Experience (1990) by Ronald Hyam.
  • Understanding the British Empire (2010) by Ronald Hayam. Chapter 5 looks at sexuality.


  • Byron: Life and Legend (2004) by Fiona McCarthy.
  • William Beckford: Composing Mozart (1998) by Timothy Mowl. Documents the colourful life of William Beckford, who scandalized Victorian society by indulging in homoerotic and paedophile activities until the Tory administration exiled him.


  • The Early Homosexual Rights Movement (1864-1935) (1974) by John Lauritsen and David Thorstad.
  • Same-Sex Dynamics among Nineteenth-Century Americans: A Mormon Example (1996) by D. Michael Quinn.
  • The Enigmatic Edwardian (1988) by James Lees-Milne. Tells of Lord Esher's private life where he indulged in a series of relationships with youths and was seen to develop an unhealthy passion for Maurice, considered to be the dullest and least attractive of his children.
  • The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde: An Intimate Biography (2003) by Neil McKenna.


  • The Real Tadzio (2001) by Gilbert Adair. According to Gilbert Adair, Thomas Mann wrote his novella, Death in Venice, “as though taking dictation from God.” But precisely who was the boy?


  • Britten's Children (2006) by John Bridcut. Looks at the composer's obsessional yet strangely innocent relationships with adolescent boys.
  • The Poisoned Bowl: Sex and the Public School (1996) by Alisdare Hickson. An anecdotal history of sex in public schools, containing the reminiscences of over 100 contributors.

See also