felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
I've had a flu much of the day. The nausea's almost gone, but I still feel very lightheaded. I have to work tomorrow no matter what, but I can go in a little later.

I updated my historical journal today. The current entry is on the Social Purity movement.

This is a movement we've tried hard to forget, though it's responsible for so much evil in this country.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
And I've updated my queer history blog.

I'm always fascinated about the peripheral stuff I have to look up for the blog. Today it was the Canadian Secret Service -- the dangerously paranoid, little-known spy organization that eventually got merged into CSIS.

Otherwise, it's been a very productive day. I finished my fifth draft of my novel, and now I'll be subjecting it to some heavy edits for a couple of weeks before it's ready to show anyone. I also fixed my computer's power source, and baked banana bread.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
The Onion has a gay pride edition this week. They forgot my favourite Onion stories on the topic, though -- "Area Man Experimenting with Homosexuality for Last 14 Years" and "Ex-Gay Program Gives Members New Life in the Closet."

On that note, Friday is the 39th anniversary of royal assent on the Criminal Omnibus Bill -- legalizing homosexuality -- and Saturday is the 39th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. The separate turning points in both the Canadian and American gay liberation movements happened within 24 hours of each other. There must've been something in the air that day/
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Malcolm Ross -- the man who almost single-handedly invented Canadian literary studies -- said that after 1967, every novel he'd read was influenced by either Leonard Cohen's Beautiful Losers or Scott Symon's Combat Journal Place d'Armes.

They're similar books. Both feature a member of the Canadian respectable classes who descends into into a kind of schizophrenic animism to deal with all the things he'd held back about himself -- largely sexual. Both books are written in stream-of-consciousness.

And Ross was right -- for about five years after, Canadians wrote nothing but this style. Margaret Atwood wrote this kind of novel twice -- her Surfacing is the only actually enjoyable book in the genre.

(Her Journal of Susanna Moodie is to be avoided -- it's a narrative whose speaker purports to be Susanna Moodie's subconscious, though it sounds suspiciously like Margaret Atwood.)

Cohen's book had managed to survive Canadians tendency to forget everything Canadian, mostly piggybacking on his fame as a musician. Even Cohen fans, though, wince when the book is mentioned.

Combat Journal Place d'Armes was just as influential at the time, and it was the first explicitly gay novel written in this country -- but it's been largely forgotten.

Well, I've read it now, and let me say, it's a very strange book.

Review Continues: Spoilers for a book you'll never read. )
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
I've been very scarce lately. At some point I'll post a review of Beowulf. Right now, I'm knee-deep in my own novel, as well as Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys. I haven't read my LJ friends page in a week, but I'll try to tomorrow at lunch.

In the meantime, here's a late entry on my historical blog.

Probably not the most exciting stuff I've researched, though I've always been weirdly fascinated with obscure prime ministers the way some people are fascinated by tiny countries, and Thompson managing to die at lunch with Queen Victoria somehow wins a prize for me. After reading his speeches about the necessity of tough laws to fight homosexuality, though, I'm less taken with him.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
I came very close to simply giving up and stopping in the middle of David Nimmons' The Soul Beneath the Skin. I'm glad I kept with it, though. It got better after that chapter.

Some thoughts:

Review continues )

I'm now reading Gentleman of the Road by Michael Chabon. I'm only a tenth of the way through it, but it's already a brilliant novel. No one does historical fiction like Chabon.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
I've been editing my historical blog a fair bit lately -- cleaning up grammar (the perils of posting very early, very often) and in style, mostly. A few of the changes have been more substantial, as I've fortified and modified a few of my theories with new discoveries.

However, I've rewritten half of this page, about the first convicts in the penitentiary at Kingston. I was able to get a lot of information on a few of the trials when I was in Toronto a month ago.

I've always been proud of that page -- it's sort of the crown jewel of my collection, because it involved a lot of substantial research in an area no one bothered to look up before. The information was all there, but the accredited historians of homosexuality in Canada never bothered to look it up.

I'm happy that I got to be the one to dredge these men's names up from the abyss.

Meanwhile, it's snowing outside my window. Did I mention that it's April 13, and we're at precisely the same latitude (down to the minute) as Milan?
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
I'll have a more serious update some time this weekend. I first wanted to wish happy Ostara/Equinox to everyone who celebrates it ^_^

This week, I went to Toronto overnight, and pored over old trial records. Nothing much was there -- these were ordinary people, their crimes uncontroversial, and they were dispensed with quickly.

Still, I got some information that can help reconstruct the circumstances: names of witnesses, for example, which help create a sense of the context of the crime. It's enough that I can probably say what what happened in two of the trials.

While I was going to Toronto to look up these very serious and real trials, I spent much of the train-ride playing the very strange courtroom-drama game, Phoenix Wright 4 (or, I guess, technically Ace Attorney 4).

Spoiler-laden review follows -- don't read if you intend to play this game )
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Just a drive-by post to say that I'd updated my website. This one has very little to do with homosexuality per se, but is about the invention of the police force. This'll actually become important, because the invention of the modern police led the way to persecution on a much larger scale.

I will be in Toronto until late tomorrow evening, doing research for the website and my novel. If I wrap up at the Archives early, I might swing through the Church and Wellesley region and take a look at the statue of Alexander Wood ^_^
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
It's been a quiet few days. I've been holding off printing my novel before I can actually get a copy to one of my three editors -- that way I won't be able to snatch it back in a panic state, deciding it's terrible. I've been making minor adjustments to things I wasn't quite happy with.

I've spent much of the last week doing research for my website. Spent the day at the Archives trying to dig up information on Canada's first victim (in 1891) of the "gross indecency" laws, a man with the astonishing name of Napoléon Lamoureux.

Records from that era, though, are spotty and hard to sort through. I couldn't find any minutes of trials for that time and place, nor subpoenas, and the handwritten notes judges take during the trials didn't include his or any of the other men arrested for the same crime that year.

I only know these men were convicted, because they show up at the St. Vincent de Paul Penitentiary and are recorded as having been convicted in Montreal.

In brighter news, one of Canada's best-known gay activists, Brent Hawkes, was awarded the Order of Canada last week. The Order of Canada is the country's highest civilian honour, something like a knighthood in Britain. Hawkes -- an openly-gay Protestant minister -- performed the same-sex wedding that triggered the court case that finally got us same-sex marriage. But he has a gay-activist résumé going back more than thirty years.

I'm really proud to be in a country that gives gay activists honours like that, even if that kind of recognition was a long time coming.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
One of the great things about Wordpress -- the people who host my GLBT history website and provide the software -- is that they tell you exactly what people are plugging into search engines to find it. That's how I know what people are looking for when they arrive.

Today, the list of queries included, "What did medieval nuns eat?"

Since my post only dealt with lesbianism among medieval nuns, I'm guessing that person got their answer.

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