Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Gay Pocahontas? A Beautiful Native American Man IS a Poem in Theodore Winthrop's "John Brent!"

I think there's poetry in the best novel writing. And sometimes, the author's themselves think so, too.

Get this excerpt from chapter 4 of Theodore Winthrop's "John Brent" (written in 1862):

"The Adonis of the copper-skins!" I said to myself. "This is the 'Young Eagle,' or the 'Sucking Dove,' or the 'Maiden's Bane,' or some other great chief of the cleanest Indian tribe on the continent. A beautiful youth! O Fenimore, why are you dead! There are a dozen romances in one look of that young brave. One chapter might be written on his fringed buckskin shirt; one on his equally fringed leggings, with their stripe of porcupine-quills; and one short chapter on his moccasons [sic], with their scarlet cloth instep-piece, and his cap of otter fur decked with an eagle's feather. What a poem the fellow is! I wish I was an Indian myself for such a companion; or, better, a squaw, to be made love to by him."

Man, I love that.

John Smith and Pocahontas is a good story. But I'm still waiting for the GAY romance version... And while "John Brent" isn't that, this piece of it gave me a small taste of something I crave, a re-casting of a profound archetype in our culture to make it Gay and, well - okay, I'll say it: poetic.

I hope you enjoyed it, too.



I found this excerpt on page 309 of "Pages Passed From Hand To Hand: The Hidden Tradition of Homosexual Literature in English from 1748 to 1914" An Anthology edited by Mark Mitchell and David Leavitt.

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