Benjamin Disraeli, 19th-century novelist, Conservative statesman and twice prime minister, on boys love in the British upper class:
At school, friendship is a passion. It entrances the being; it tears the soul. All loves of after-life can never bring its rapture, or its wretchedness; no bliss so absorbing, no pangs of jealousy or despair so crushing and so keen! What tenderness and what devotion; what illimitable confidence; infinite revelations of inmost thoughts; what ecstatic present and romantic future; what bitter estrangements and what melting reconciliations; what scenes of wild recrimination, agitating explanations, passionate correspondence; what insane sensitiveness, and what frantic sensibility; what earthquakes of the heart and whirlwinds of the soul are confined in that simple phrase, a schoolboy’s friendship! Tis some indefinite recollection of these mystic passages of their young emotion that makes grey-haired men mourn over the memory of their schoolboy days. It is a spell that can soften the acerbity of political warfare, and with its witchery can call forth a sigh even amid the callous bustle of fashionable saloons.
From: Benjamin Disraeli (1844), Congingsby, Chapter IX.
Jonathan Katz interprets the American 19th-century construction of male-male love in a college guy’s secret diary:
On February 2, 1837, Albert Dodd, then nineteen or twenty years old, contemplated in his diary the emotional ups and downs of his past year at Washington College (now Trinity), in Hartford, Connecticut: “First, the friend I loved,” a classmate, John Heath, “the first one whom I had ever truly loved in this wide world, became estranged from me, as I indeed did from him.” […]
Dodd wondered what to name his feeling for Heath: “It is not friendship merely which I feel for him, or it is friendship of the strongest kind. It is a heartfelt, a manly, a pure, deep, and fervent love.” This is literally a defining moment in his diary. Dodd toyed with the word “friendship,” but then rejected if for “love,” qualified as especially intense. Adding qualifiers to the terms “love” and “friendship” was one of the main ways that men of this time affirmed their special feeling for men. […] (mehr…)
When eighteenth-century American men described „with a swelling of the heart“ their friendships with other men, addressing them as „lovely boy“ and „dearly beloved,“ celebrating the „ardent affection“ that knit their hearts in „indissoluble bonds of fraternal love,“ their families, neighbors, and acquaintances would have been neither surprised nor disturbed. (mehr…)
Palestinian documentary about Israeli settlement policy …
Youtube playlist, 6 parts, 57 min.
In a peculiar twist, Thomas Jefferson [1743 – 1826], a man who is usually noted as a[n] enlightened voice in American history, drafted a proposed revision of Virginia’s laws. In it, he specified that the penalty for sodomy among men should be castration, and for women, a hole should be cut in the nasal cartilage [dt. „Nasenscheidewand“] of at least one half inch in diameter apparently in the belief that torture was preferable to the death penalty. Jefferson’s proposal was unique not only because it specified mutilation as a punishment, but because he broke with the English tradition and included women in his definition of sodomy. Fortunately, Jefferson’s „liberal“ approach was never made law.
Directed by Afdhere Jama