This page presents an overview of encyclopedic articles about literary themes.
You may drop names here as an invitation for others to write about them.
Literature in general
It would be interesting to look into boy-love as theme and inspiration in literature (as well as, of course, in the other arts). Little seems to have been done in that direction, and of course, this is not and has never been a subject known to attract young promising talents (except in suicide or secrecy); it is only to dealt with in the most inaccessible and esoteric terms.
Classical Greek literature
The social practice of pederasty was accompanied by both pictorial and literary works which form an important part of our knowledge of the ancient Greeks. The most important collection of pederastic Greek literature is the book twelve of the Greek Anthology (aka Palatine Anthology) which was translated into English as Boyish Muse.
- Uranian poetry, as written by the Rev. Edwin Emmanuel Bradford among others, was popular in its time.
- Mary Renault, An English novelist who lived from 1905 to 1983 wrote six historical novels set in ancient Greece that boldly celebrate boylove ideals. Her trilogy about Alexander idealize and romanticize boylove. Reviews of her work usually praise her for her unsupassedly authentic evocation of classical Greec, as well as being a pioneer in the exploration of homosexual relationships, while neglecting to mention that almost all of them were intergenerational. Renault did not write about just gay themes. She wrote plainly and warmly about BL relationships.
- Edmund Marlowe wrote one novel "Alexander's Choice" in 2012 recounting the love affair of a 14-year-old boy and a young schoolmaster at Eton College in 1984, also exploring the attitudes to such affairs of the boys and the various authorities, and how these had evolved.
- Poet Walt Whitman wrote the Leaves of Grass.
- Allen Ginsberg wrote poems, some of which are quite revealing.
- Guy Davenport often touched boylove themes in his novels and short stories.
- Paul T. Rogers wrote only one novel, "Saul's Book," published in 1983, before passing away shortly thereafter. The novel was received with rave reviews and created a short-lived literary sensation. Set in New York City in the late 70s and early 80s, the novel explores the lives of Sinbad from the beginnings of his career as a gay hustler at the age of 12 through his teenaged years and Saul, his older, criminal lover. The story is dark, forboding and desperate. The love between the two protangonists and the redemption that it might offer them is the only bright note sounded in an otherwise despairing exploration of human nature.
- Matthew Stadler, a literary novelist of the late 20th and early 21st centuries is known for including frank explorations of boylove in his writing. Notable examples of novels with BL themes include "Landscape: Memory," "The Sex Offender: A Novel," "The Dissolution of Nicholas Dee" and "Allan Stein." Stadler's portrayals of BL relationships tend to be positive and affirming though he tends to set his stories in the past or the hypothetical future in an evident attempt to divorce his views from modern value judgements. His novels have met with much critical acclaim.
- Joseph Geraci, an American who makes his home in the Netherlands has penned at least two explicitely BL-themed novels, "Loving Sander" and "The Deaf Mute Boy." Besides his novels, Geraci has also edited and published "Dares to Speak: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Boy-Love" a collection of essays.
- Will Aitken penned the novel "Terre Haute" in 1989, directly exploring the romantic, sexual relationship between a 14 y/o gay boy and a married man in his 30s. The author seems intent on exploring the power differential in the relationship as it slowly shifts in balance from favoring the man to favoring the boy.
- Rod Downey authored "The Moralist," his first and so far only novel, in 1993. The story celebrates the love between an older man and a 12 year old boy, while examining the moral and cultural obstacles that stand in their way. The story challenges the witch hunt mentality of recent times.
Perhaps France has been exceptional in that boy-love, if only in literature, was for a while almost accepted into high culture.
- André Gide won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1947.
- Henry de Montherlant made it into the French Academy.
- Roger Peyrefitte was a popular, though eccentric and notorious, writer.
- Tony Duvert — the most self-conscious and sexually explicit of them — drew laudatory reviews as a rule until the eighties. (This change of climate is interesting in itself.)
- Walter Foelske, of Cologne, is an important, if neglected, contemporary gay author, who does not eschew the subject of boylove -- even writing sort of a bestseller about it (Blutjung).
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, living in a time of renewed interest in, predominantly, Greek Antiquity, repeatedly referred to the theme of boylove, be it in connection with oriental poetry (West-östlicher Diwan), be it for comical effect in the drama Faust II; in conversation he once famously remarked: «Boylove is as old as mankind itself; thus it is natural even if it is against nature.»
Paederasty is as old as humanity itself, and one can therefore say that it is natural, that it resides in nature, even if it proceeds against nature. What culture has won from nature will not be surrendered or given up at any price.
- — A comment by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 7 April 1830
- Reinhard Knoppka lives in Cologne, writing (and publishing) stories and novels which make boylove and the boylover's condition a major theme.
- Thomas Mann wrote Death in Venice.
- John Henry Mackay used the pseudonym "Sagitta" to write boylove stories.
- Ihara Saikaku wrote "The Great Mirror of Male Love," published in 1687. It is available in an English translation from 1990. "The Great Mirror" is a collection of short stories spanning various classes of Japanese feudal society and celebrating erotic love between men and adolescent boys. It was the first mass produced book printed in Japan.
- Willem de Mérode (1887-1939) (pseud. of Willem Eduard Keuning) wrote poems in which he celebrated his passion for boys.
- Johannes Kneppelhout (1814-1885) wrote Een beroemde knaap (1875).
- Ries van Wallenburg wrote many self-published books.
- Frits Bernard also wrote to boylove novellas.
Boylove poetry flourished among the Sepharadic (Spanish) Jews, an important community in the Iberian peninsula up to 1492. The scholar-rabbis leaders of the community like Ibn Gabirol, Samuel ha-Naguid, Moses Ibn Ezra and Judah ha-Levi all penned boylove verse.
Modern Greek literature
- Andreas Embiricos (1901-1975) had several explicit pederastic episodes in his erotic eight-volume novel The Great Eastern (1990-1).
- Kostas Tachtsis (1927-1988)
- C.P. Cavafy (1863-1933)
- Quoted at outset of Michael Walker, Secreted Desires: The Major Uranians: Hopkins, Pater and Wilde, http://mmkaylor.com/files/Kaylor_Secreted_Desires_Part_0_Introductory_matters.pdf