An academic's tortured--yet varied and involving--monologue on the gay identity he has harbored for three decades. Professor...

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ALIENATED AFFECTIONS: Being Gay in America

An academic's tortured--yet varied and involving--monologue on the gay identity he has harbored for three decades. Professor Kleinberg (English, Long Island University) grew up a ""Jew Commie Fag"" in the City College of the Fifties, where ""nothing in literature or music or the graphic arts was safe from arrogant misreadings."" His exploration of gay issues is least effective when it strays to flowery interpretations of Ingmar Bergman or Martha Graham, as if to make up for the years in which he feared his taste was wanting. It is most provocative in its claims for a separate ""gay sensibility"" that is rooted in the primacy of sexuality, and substitutes the values of art or culture for the condemnatory dictates of traditional morality. Kleinberg is sensitive to trends not only in his own life but in those of homosexual friends, married or unmarried, and he does have a way of illustrating with an apt story. Some conclusions? That the ""richest, least infantile, and most moral"" relationships gay men form are those with women--because eroticism is converted to something else of much power. This accords with recent reports on the special nature of such relationships. Also: that trans-sexuality and homosexuality are distinctly opposed; indeed, the ""surrender of maleness"" is seen as equally abhorrent to gay and straight men. Some of this may be more inside-description than the straight world cares to hear; but Kleinberg is a thoughtful and literate spokesman for the gay sensibility in which he so passionately believes.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 1980

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1980