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June 23, 2022

It’s Pride month! And this means it’s time to showcase some of our favorite LGBT+ icons of literary history. Read below to learn more about authors of recent and upcoming Canterbury Classics: Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde, and Virginia Woolf, whose landmark novel, Mrs. Dalloway, is new from Word Cloud Classics this October.

 

 

 

 

Walt Whitman

Although this towering figure in American literature may not have understood himself to be gay in the modern sense, he is most certainly a gay icon. The celebratory sensuality of his poetry was groundbreaking at the time and continues to be inspirational to LGBT+ readers, authors, and artists almost 200 years after he wrote it. Highlights are the “Calamus” poems, some of which are collected in Love Poems from Word Cloud Classics. They can also be found in their entirety in both the leather-bound and Word Cloud Classics editions of Leaves of Grass.

Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde is a crucial gay icon, and his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, is a must-read for any lover of LGBT+ literature. This story of a man who sells his soul to preserve his youth and beauty is a gothic classic, but it was controversial for its era, offending Victorian critics and cited as evidence of the author’s hedonism. What more recommendation do you need?

 

Virginia Woolf

Coming soon from Word Cloud Classics, Mrs. Dalloway is a landmark novel in modern British and LGBT+ literature. It’s fair to say that Dalloway’s romantic longing for Sally Seaton was inspired by Woolf’s love affair with Vita Sackville-West, a relationship that informed much of her writing, including gender-bent masterpiece Orlando. While she might not have referred to herself as bisexual in her era, there is no question she is a literary and LGBT+ icon. You can also find her short story, “The Voyage Out,” in our leather-bound Classic Works from Women Writers.

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