Love in a Dark Time

Love in a Dark Time

And Other Explorations of Gay Lives and Literature

Colm Tóibín knows the languages of the outsider, the secret keeper, the gay man or woman. He knows the covert and overt language of homosexuality in literature. In Love in a Dark Time, he also describes the solace of finding like-minded companions through reading.
Tóibín examines the life and work of some of the greatest and most influential writers of the past two centuries, figures whose homosexuality remained hidden or oblique for much of their lives, either by choice or necessity. The larger world couldn't know about their sexuality, but in their private lives, and in the spirit of their work, the laws of desire defined their expression.
This is an intimate encounter with Mann, Baldwin, Bishop, and with the contemporary poets Thom Gunn and Mark Doty. Through their work, Tóibín is able to come to terms with his own inner desires -- his interest in secret erotic energy, his admiration for courageous figures, and his abiding fascination with sadness and tragedy. Tóibín looks both at writers forced to disguise their true experience on the page and at readers who find solace and sexual identity by reading between the lines.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743244671 | 
  • June 2004
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It was the winter of 1964 in the town of Enniscorthy in the southeast of Ireland and I was training to be an altar boy. My fellow apprentices and I spent an hour three evenings a week in the vestry of the cathedral learning the intricacies of serving Mass and Benediction. We learned by rote the names of all the vestments the priest wore -- the amice, the alb, the girdle, the stole, the maniple, and the chasuble. We learned how to ring the bell on the altar, first to alert the Mass-goers to the immanence of the Consecration and once more as the Host was raised and the chalice lifted. We learned how to serve the water so the... see more

About the Author

Colm Toibin
© Phoebe Ling

Colm Toibin

Colm Tóibín is the author of seven novels, including The Blackwater Lightship; The Master, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Brooklyn, winner of the Costa Book Award; and The Testament of Mary, as well as two story collections. Twice shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Tóibín lives in Dublin and New York.




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