The Young and Evil

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Sep 23 00:27:51 UTC 2011

On Sep 22, 2011, at 2:08 PM, Ronald Butters wrote:

> Charles Henri Ford and Parker Tyler’s New York homosexual coterie novel, The Young and Evil (Paris, Obelisk, 1933, 163; repr. 1975, New York: Arno):

Aha.  Arno reprints, of Farmer & Henley fame.  But as noted, this also reappeared under the imprint of Gay Men's Press (London, 1989).  I wonder about that Obelisk…

> … compliments flew down on special wheels couldn’t say no to the sensations he gives
> me gayest thing on two feet harlot making theatrical costumes like one demented and renting the
> bed them to come down here and fight like mEn startling …
> Nothing says this doesn't just mean 'cheerful' or 'decadent' or 'colorful' or just the general sense of 'partier' used throughout the era. Yes, it is a novel about the homosexual subculture, and, yes, it is tempting to anachronistically impose a late-twentieth century reading on the usage in this rather scrambled passage. But that doesn't mean that "gay" here means 'homosexual'.
> Also, it is worth pointing out that The Young and Evil uses the term in its only other occurrence in the novel in a sense wherein "gay" = 'lovely':
> I say said Osbert to Harold you look positively gay in the new clothes. [¶] Oh said Harold you’re lovely too, dear, and gave him a big kiss on the forehead, much to Osbert’s dismay. [p64]
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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