BOOK REVIEWS

Bare Strength, Gay Berlin and more.

DNA Magazine - - CONTENT -

– Robert Beachy This su­perb ac­count traces the emer­gence of gay iden­tity and sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion in Ger­many (no­tably in Berlin) from the 1850s to well beyond the turn of last cen­tury. One fas­ci­nat­ing chap­ter fo­cuses on the Eu­len­burg scan­dal that tainted Kaiser Wil­liam II. Philipp Prince zu Eu­len­burg-Herte­feld was a close friend of Kaiser Wil­liam and although mar­ried with five chil­dren, Eu­len­burg and his friends were sus­pected of be­ing ho­mo­sex­ual. Al­legedly their pet name for the Kaiser was Liebchen (‘Dar­ling’)! Mat­ters came to a head when a jour­nal­ist pub­lished de­ri­sive ar­ti­cles in 1906 about the Kaiser’s en­tourage which ul­ti­mately led to a li­bel trial.

In the stir­ring open­ing chap­ter, read­ers learn of Karl Hein­rich Ul­richs, a Ger­man ac­tivist who is of­ten cred­ited with be­ing the first man to come out, openly ac­knowl­edg­ing his sex­ual at­trac­tion to other men back in 1867. Another chap­ter is de­voted to Mag­nus Hirschfeld and his In­sti­tute For Sex­ual Sci­ence. Beachy also ex­plores why Berlin was so popular with prom­i­nent for­eign­ers in the chap­ter, Sex Tourism And Male Pros­ti­tu­tion In Weimar Berlin. Christo­pher Ish­er­wood, WH Au­den and Stephen Spender are fa­mously as­so­ci­ated with Berlin, but Beachy re­veals dozens of other well-known men who rel­ished its charms, such as artist Mars­den Hart­ley, ar­chi­tect Philip John­son and so­cialite David Her­bert. The text is com­ple­mented by fas­ci­nat­ing his­tor­i­cal photograph­s high­light­ing key fig­ures such as Hirschfeld and also Ish­er­wood and his Ger­man boyfriend, Otto.

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