Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Alternative history

And talking of alternative history, check out this fabulous blog entitled Woolf and Wilde, which presents
vintage photographs of men together (and sometimes women together) circa 1880 to 1950, a longtime passion of mine.

I pair the photos with text to narrate what, in my imagination, the couples might be saying, doing, feeling. Text is drawn from poetry, fiction, letters, lyrics and my own writing. Assembling these Imagined Histories creates a gay ancestry of sorts that I have always longed to know — even if I have had to make it up myself. This is the lineage I wish had been passed down to me like so much treasure, like other cultures do to honor a common identity.
ride me like a waveNot only is this a beautiful idea, but some of the pictures are wonderful, and the poetry is good as well (with selections from e e cummings and Walt Whitman, among others).

Here's my favourite so far - how luscious!

I wonder what the sitters of these photos were really thinking? Some of them certainly seem quite gay and lesbian - and who is to say that they weren't? There was a thriving lesbian and gay underground in the late nineteenth century, with toms and mollies and their own special clubs.

You can also follow Woolf & Wilde on Twitter, which was where I discovered them when they kindly followed me. It's rather like the telegraph craze of the 1890s, don't you think?

1 comment:

  1. Now all we need is for someone to write a gay or lesbian steampunk novel (kind of like Sarah Waters' Tipping the Velvet but with a steampunk aspect to the whole thing. That would be awesome.