Member’s Choice: Uncovering Male Love in the Shelley-Byron Circle
with John Lauritsen
Beginning in 2001, John Lauritsen has studied two of the most famous poets of English Romanticism -- Percy Bysshe Shelley and George Gordon, Lord Byron -- and the men that comprised their inner social circle. He has found abundant expressions of male love in their lives and works. Sometimes this love in their works was coded to be understood only by those within the group of men, but at other times it was amazingly candid. Family and biographers of these men did their best to purge their lives from any evidence of homoeroticism. Lauritsen endeavors to bring the lived experiences of these men to light through his research. He will discuss his experiences in academia as he researched the lives of Shelley and Byron and their counterparts. He's found that evidence and logic don't always prevail against cherished narratives, orthodox fables, or entrenched reputations.
John Lauritsen is a Harvard graduate who made his living as a market research executive and analyst. He's also been a gay activist and scholar since July 1969, when he joined the Gay Liberation Front. Later he joined the Gay Activists Alliance, where he was Delegate-At-Large, and the Gay Academic Union, where he became a National Director. He was a member of the Columbia University Seminar on Homosexualities. With the advent of the gay health crisis in the early 1980s, Lauritsen became an investigative journalist and a leading AIDS critic. His main outlet was the New York Native, which from 1985 to 1996 published over 50 of his articles. In addition to the Native, Lauritsen's articles have appeared in publications as diverse as Gay Books Bulletin, Gay News (London), Civil Liberties Review, The Freethinker (London), Journal of Homosexuality, Christopher Street, Gay & Lesbian Humanist, Gay & Lesbian Review, Bio/Technology, The Lancet, Mensa Bulletin, and Academic Questions. His writings have been widely translated. A denizen of the Athenæum's fifth (“writers”) floor, he's written fifteen books, the most recent being The Shelley-Byron Men (2017) and (as editor) Don Leon & Leon to Annabella (2017).