In the first anthology to survey the full range of gay men's autobiographical writing from Walt Whitman to the present, ""Gay American Autobiography"" draws excerpts from letters, journals, oral histories, memoirs, and autobiographies to provide examples of the best life writing over the last century and a half. Volume editor David Bergman guides the reader chronologically through selected writings that give voice to every generation of gay writers since the nineteenth century, including a diverse array of American men of African, European, Jewish, Asian, and Latino heritage. Documenting a range of life experiences that encompass tattoo artists and academics, composers and drag queens, hustlers and clerks, it contains accounts of turn-of-the-century transvestites, gay rights activists, men battling AIDS, and soldiers attempting to come out in the army. Each selection provides important insight on the wide spectrum of ways gay men have defined and lived their lives, highlighting how self-awareness changes an author's experience. The volume includes an introduction by Bergman and headnotes for each of the nearly forty entries. Bringing many out-of-print and hard-to-find works to new readers, this challenging and comprehensive anthology chronicles American gay history and life struggles over the course of the past 150 years.
David Bergman is professor of English at Towson State University and author of numerous books, including Cracking the Code, winner of the 1985 George Elliston Poetry Prize, and Men on Men 2000, winner of the 2001 Lambda Literary Award for Best Literary Anthology.