Essay Writer

BURNS, John Horne

The Gallery

New York: Harper & Bros., 1947

8vo, pp. 342. Original black cloth, lettered in gilt on spine. A fine copy in a near fine dustwrapper, price-clipped, with minimal wear and one tiny chip to head of spine.

First edition.
The author's first novel is barely a novel at all, more a loosely-connected series of short, impressionistic pieces inspired by the eighteen months Burns spent in Italy as a soldier during the Second World War. The section which particularly caught Vidal's attention is entitled Momma, a brilliant (and very early) evocation of a gay bar. This one is used by gay, bi, and variously curious G.I's, local civilians, and 'trade', the whole presided over by Momma, the earth-mother proprietress.
A near fine copy, and a key book in the history of gay literature, by an author who has been unjustly forgotten and whose rediscovery is long overdue.
Slide 12

Keywords: John Horne Burns

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