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Five Canterbury Classics for Pride Month

June 3, 2024

It’s officially Pride Month, so we’ve selected essential classics to add to your reading list for the month of June. Read on for books by authors commonly recognized as members of the queer community. Plus, these colorful covers are perfect editions to any bookshelf rainbow.

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman Leather-Bound Classic

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman was considered controversial in the 1800s due to its overt sexual nature. Although his sexual identity was never confirmed, many of Whitman’s romantic and sensual poems were written about men. Upon meeting the author in 1882, Oscar Wilde’s response to questions about Whitman’s sexual orientation was “I have the kiss of Walt Whitman still on my lips.”

We’re such fans of Walt Whitman over here at Canterbury Classics that we published a Word Cloud Classics edition as well. To learn more about the writer’s fascinating life, check out our blog, Nine Things You Didn’t Know About Walt Whitman.

My Ántonia

My Ántonia by Willa Cather Word Cloud Classic

Willa Cather’s 40-year domestic partnership with editor Edith Lewis is well documented and she’s widely understood to have been a lesbian. As a young person, Willa is known to have dressed as a man and occasionally used the name William. Her classic, My Ántonia, was nominated for the first Pulitzer Prize, but she didn’t win the award until 1922 with her book, One of Ours.

Dracula by Bram Stoker Word Cloud Classic

This classic of horror is no doubt a queer classic as well, as much for its own transgressive content as the later work it inspired. Sultry 80s erotic thriller The Hunger, HBO’s True Blood (based on the binge-readable Sookie Stackhouse book series by Charlaine Harris), and every iteration of Interview with the Vampire owe their edginess to the gothic masterpiece (just to name a few fine examples).

But Bram Stoker himself was believed to be a closeted gay man who idolized one queer icon also mentioned here, Walt Whitman and was friends (frenemies?) with another, Oscar Wilde. There’s even been speculation that the title vampire of his classic novel was based on Wilde.


Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

Mrs. Dalloway is one of Virginia Woolf’s most well known works of fiction. The novel’s protagonist, Clarissa Dalloway, is often characterized as a a queer character victimized by the effects of a patriarchal culture. The novel focusses on the emotionally intimate relationship between her and another person of the same sex.

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Author Virginia Woolf’s characters not only show signs of queer identities, but the author herself was known to have relationships with women throughout her writing career. Check out our blog on her connections to The Bloomsbury Group, or read To the Lighthouse for another look inside the author’s literary mind.

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