My Favorite Gay Characters in Literature: Background information when reading Less

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Less by Andrew Sean Greer X
Less by Andrew Sean Greer
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  • First Published:
    Jul 2017, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    May 22, 2018, 272 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kate Braithwaite

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
My Favorite Gay Characters in Literature

With his portrait of Arthur Less, a lovable — if somewhat hapless — man on a trip round the world, Andrew Sean Greer gives more than a nod to Mark Twain's 1869 satire, The Innocents Abroad. Less, a middle-aged gay man, needs to radically re-write his own novel about "a middle-aged gay man walking about San Francisco." This self-conscious reflection on the concept of a gay character prompted me to recall some of the diverse LGBT characters I have known and loved over the years.

Stephen Gordon is the hero of Radclyffe Hall's classic, The Well of Loneliness (1928). This story of an upper class girl who realizes from an early age that she is attracted to women was banned in Britain after an obscenity trial. Stephen, given a boy's name because her parents expected her to be a boy, grows up and becomes a writer. She finds a more liberal society in pre-First World War Paris but falls in love when she is back in London during the War, with fellow ambulance driver, Mary ...

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