March 28th, 2012

andrew potter

Eminent Outlaws: Virginia Woolf (January 25, 1882 – March 28, 1941)

Adeline Virginia Woolf (25 January 1882 – 28 March 1941) was an English author, essayist, publisher, and writer of short stories, regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century. (Picture: Virginia Woolf by George Charles Beresford)

During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a member of the Bloomsbury Group. Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928), and the book-length essay A Room of One's Own (1929), with its famous dictum,
"A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction."
Virginia Woolf was born Adeline Virginia Stephen in London in 1882 to Sir Leslie Stephen and Julia Prinsep Stephen (née Jackson).

Virginia's father, Sir Leslie Stephen (1832–1904), was a notable historian, author, critic and mountaineer. He was the editor of the Dictionary of National Biography, a work which would influence Woolf's later experimental biographies.

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Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway is, in many ways, the perfect modern novel. Or, a novel born of modernity, and perfectly expressive of modernity. I've reread my copy of Mrs. Dalloway so many times that it's fallen apart. The prose is deceptively casual, a style that would be characterized as "stream of consciousness" yet, unlike Faulkner's work, a stream that's layered yet accessible. What Mrs. Dalloway seems to offer are a series of short characterizations. But Woolf's technique is so blended with sensibility or impulse, that she creates pieces that become greater than the sum of the whole. --Tomas Mournian
A Room of One's Own has been described by some as a feminist tract, but it never felt stuffily political in my opinion. I must have skipped an introduction when I read it, because I didn't realize the book is based on a series of college lectures given by Ms. Woolf. I suppose I was thrown by the fact that, she compiled the lectures and published them as told by a fictional narrator. According to Wikipedia, "By taking on different identities, the narrator transcends one single voice and consequently she makes herself a force to be reckoned with." Scared of her. lol. --Aaron Fricke
Orlando is a classic in so many ways, the history behind this book makes the meaning and the layers even more eloquent and opens up a whole new world of interpretation. Essentially a love letter to one of Woolf’s partners, Vita Sackville-West, Orlando is a coded lesbian romance. Orlando is a nobleman who simply decides through his own will that he will never grow old. He moves through the centuries, has many romances and even changes sex, becoming the Lady Orlando. It was because of the gender-bendering and ‘fantastical’ elements that Woolf could, at the time, explore gender and sexuality in a way that had never been done before. It is a brilliant work that should be read by everybody. --Sean Kennedy
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andrew potter

Particular Voices: Terry Helbing (May 21, 1951 - March 28, 1994)

Terry Helbing was born on May 21, 1951 and grew up in East Dubuque, Illinois. He began working and acting in Theater in 1966, and Gay Theater in 1973. He graduated from Emerson College in 1973 with a BA in Dramatic Arts and acted in Boston and New England with the touring company of Jonathan Ned Katz's "Coming Out."

Mr. Helbing served as Managing Editor of The Drama Review for four years beginning in 1977 and contributed to many theatrical and gay and lesbian publications, including "The Advocate" and "TheaterWeek". He was theater editor at "New York Native" from 1981 until his death, and he contributed a weekly theater news column at "Stonewall News". In 1979, he was founder and publisher of the JH Press (named for his father, John Helbing), which became the drama division of the Gay Presses of NY. GPNY was also started by Helbing in conjunction with Felice Picano and Larry Mitchell in 1982 and they published Harvey Fierstein's successful "Torch Song Trilogy", among others. In addition, he cofounded the Gay Theatre Alliance, an international organization dedicated to the growth of gay theatre by connecting theater companies and playwrights through a quarterly newsletter. He served as President of the organization and edited the "Gay Theatre Alliance Directory of Gay Plays".

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For one thing, he lived and breathed theater. And while we were also interested in theater, it was never on the daily, or I could almost say hourly, scale that Terry lived theater. Most of the time that I knew him, he was a stage critic, and also usually engaged in one or another stage production, in one capacity or another. And in time I ended up being drawn into his theater obsession and having plays of mine produced by him. --Felice Picano
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andrew potter

Mine by Mary Calmes

I haven’t read all the novels by Mary Calmes, but considering the ones I did, I have the feeling this author likes her heroes to be on the “middle”, not fully bad boys, not fully next door guys. In this case we have Trevan, a runner for a betting house (not legal) who is living with Landry, a jewellery designer. Landry is instable, when Trev met him, he was practically whoring himself out in exchange of love, and Trev promised him that if he was to be only his, than he would have had all the love he needed. That is not an easy task, and being Trev basically a good guy, he is worried Landry is becoming too dependent from him, but he doesn’t see any other choice in front of him.

Then Landry’s past comes back and Trev has the chance to learn some secrets about his boyfriend, something that should be a sure break between them if there was not that dependency of above. Trev is fully loyal, with everyone he considers family, that is real relatives, friends, and of course his lover and partner. Whatever Landry does to push the wrong buttons of Trev he doesn’t manage to, Trev had a teacher in his father, someone who taught him what it means to be a good guy and he is living up to the teaching.

I liked that, despite everything, the author never really put in danger Trev and Landry’s relationship, even if the odds were against them, their love was always stronger and there was never once the chance they would split. Sometime it was even too much, this love felt too strong to be real, and Trev was too patient and too good to be true. But that was the basis of the story, Trev being the positive balance for Landry. Another point that I liked was that, despite Trev being basically Landry’s protector that is not saying he was by default the stronger or the totally dominant in their private relationship: Landry can be a spoiled brat sometime, he can like fashion and jewellery, but he is a man, and sometime he needs to have the upper hand in their physical display of affection.

All in all I truly enjoy the story, there were only minor complaints I have, like the fact Trev tells us no less than three time he has shaved his head close to the scalp, or when the author enters a flashback at the end of the story that I would have felt better being almost at the beginning. But as I said, these are little things that didn’t spoil the story for me.

Amazon: Mine
Amazon Kindle: Mine
Paperback: 220 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (March 5, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 161372425X
ISBN-13: 978-1613724255

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle