This electronic version incorporates minor revisions, but not updating beyond adding data for articles at that time in press, to the text published in 1991-92. On a number of these topics I have additional notes. This version updated and posted 5/31/96.
by Daniel Eisenberg
Florida State University
(now Northern Arizona University)
Part I. Published in [MLA] Lesbian and Gay Studies Newsletter, 18.2 (July, 1991), 1, 5-7.
Spain is a country with a very rich gay history and culture. It remains virtually unstudied, and vast areas of scholarly and critical territory await the intrepid researcher with the necessary linguistic skills. Gay studies remain taboo in Spain and to a lesser extent among Hispanists everywhere. Of course this makes the work much more fun.
In the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality, edited by Wayne Dynes (New York: Garland, 1990), I published a number of articles on Hispanic topics (Azaña, Cernuda, Cervantes, Falla, Granada, Juan II and Enrique IV, Lorca, Antonio Pérez, Sephardic Jews, Spain). In the process of writing these articles a number of areas of further research presented themselves. These far exceed my own capacities and those of of the handful of researchers in the field. In the hopes of attracting others to this understudied field, here are some topics, arranged chronologically.
1. It is possible that the legendary hero Bernardo del Carpio, who served no woman, along with his partly-legendary lord Alfonso II "the Chaste" (791-842), who had no offspring and avoided intercourse with his wife, served as homosexual symbols. In Golden Age Spain Bernardo del Carpio has been described as "the archetypical Spanish hero." There are many works on him, including a play and a lost chivalric romance by Cervantes. For an introduction to Bernardo del Carpio, see my A Study of Don Quixote (Newark, Delaware: Juan de la Cuesta, 1987), Chapter II. [[Revised Spanish translation: La interpretación cervantina del Quijote (Madrid: Compañía Literaria, 1995).]] Since then there has been a book and several articles by David Burton on Juan de la Cueva's Bernardo; the book is reviewed in Journal of Hispanic Philology, 14 (1989 ), 99-101, and the articles may be located through the MLA bibliography.
2. The fairy kingdom of Granada. Frank Sinatra had a song about Granada,
the only mode rn survival of the romantic Granada, whose reputation is an
essential though unrecognized part of the mystique traditionally associated
with the Orient.
At the root of the legend of marvelous, mysterious, beautiful Granada is an eleventh-century kingdom, highly literate and sophisticated, in which homosexuality was the norm in aristocratic circles. By good fortune the memoirs of the last ruler, King Badis, have survived, a unique case for Islamic Spain, and these reveal that pederastic homosexuality was the norm, and viewed by many as a pecadillo at most. Pederastic poetry of the period, which is plentiful, supports this.
What makes this a particularly startling topic is that the kingdom, and the poetry in question, were Jewish. Granada was a Jewish city before Islam arrived in Spain in the eighth century. The eleventh-century Muslim monarch was a figurehead, and a Jew led the army. In another part of the strange world that this window into the middle ages reveals, one of Granada's chief enemies was the eunuch king of Almería.
The whole topic of Jewish, homosexual Granada deserves a proper examination from someone with the linguistic skills needed. Introductory bibliography is in the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality article on Granada.
[[Addition to topic no. 2, published with Part IV, in the November 1992 issue. The iconographic symbols for the lover and the boy beloved are the lion and the gazelle; the gazelle appears very frequently in poetry. Lions mounting gazelles are portrayed on a basin from Granada, now in the Museo de la Alhambra, Plate 29 in La Alhambra y casa real by Emilio García Gómez and Jesús Bermúdez Pareja (Granada: Albaicín, 1966); also found on the cover of El siglo XI en 1a persona. Las memorias de Abd Allah último rey zirí de Granada (Madrid: Alianza, 1982), also in Anwar G. Chejne, Muslim Spain (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1974), between pp. 272 and 273.]]
3. Homosexuality in Jewish Spain other than Granada, due to the pioneering efforts of Schirmann and especially Norman Roth, has been treated somewhat. There are many poems which remain available only in Hebrew: someone might do us the favor of translating those of Isaac Ben Abraham Ibn Ezra. (See the edition by Menahem H. Schmelzer [New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1980], p. 3.) Introductory bibliography is in the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality article on Sephardic Jews.
4. On Andalusian (Muslim) homosexuality, however, there is nothing other than notes in the very deficient book of Antonio Arjona Castro, La sexualidad en la España musulmana (Córdoba: Univ. of Córdoba, 1985). There is abundant material, especially in the poems of Ibn Quzman, Ibn Sahl, and many others. Some of the abundant pederastic poetry was collected in the contemporary anthologies Dar at-tiraz of Ibn Sana al-Mulk and Rayat al- mubarrizin of Ibn Said al-Maghribi (The Banners of the Champions, trans. James Bellamy and Patricia Steiner, Madison, Wisconsin: Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies, 1988). An influential collection was Emilio García Gómez's Poemas arábigo-andaluces (Madrid, 1930). J. M. Continente Ferrer, "Aproxmiación al estudio del tema de amor en la poesía hispano- árabe de los siglos XII y XIII," Awraq, No. 1 (1978), 12-28.
5. Gonzalo Hernández de Córdoba, the famous "gran capitán," one of Spain's great military leaders of all times. That he was Ferdinand and Isabella's Arabic-speaking ambassador to Granada, and friend of its king Boabdil, marks him as potentially homophile. He was surrounded by a group of young men, pages, and mozos de espuelas, to whom he was kind. Strangely, for such an important figure, there is very little creative literature about him. Álvaro de Luna, who was executed, was a safer choice. The Gran Capitán's chronicle, like that of Álvaro de Luna, is anonymous. Cervantes especially recommended that readers study this work.
6. Spanish Inquisition records are a great source of social and cultural information. While many were destroyed when the Inquisition was disbanded at the beginning of the nineteenth century, vast quantities remain. Only those of Valencia and Mallorca have been systematically studied for information on sodomy and related sexual offenses. (Rafael Carrasco, Inquisición y represión sexual en Valencia. Historia de los sodomitas (1565- 1785) [Barcelona: Laertes, 1985]; Carrasco, "Les Pouvoirs et le 'pervers': éléments pour une histoire de certaines minorités à l'époque de Philippe IV," Imprévue, 1980, No. 1, pp. 31-52; Ramon Rosselló, L'homosexualitat a Mallorca a l'edat mitjana [Barcelona: Calamus Scriptorius, 1978].) Other areas require similar surveys. Skills in paleography are needed to study them. Inquisition studies are a well-established field and there is much secondary material to guide one to and assist in interpreting the material. William Percy published an article on the Inquisition in the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality.
7. Alonso Pérez, the king's secretary who fled to France and was followed by charges of sodomy, was an influential initiator of the tradition of critical study of Spain's problems. It is almost 150 years since publication of the testimony against him, censored of its gay content. What is known about it suggests that it is a priceless document on the clandestine homosexual underworld in the court of Felipe II. Full publication is essential. Paleographical skills are needed. (See the article "Alonso Pérez" in the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality.)
8. Fray Luis de León and Arias Montano, Hebrew scholars of the sixteenth century. The case for including them in the list of gay figures is circumstantial. Knowledge of foreign languages is often the key to access to otherwise proscribed texts. Fray Luis, a poet of withdrawal and contemplation, was an Augustinian, and chose the order because of his admiration for St. Augustine, not a very common basis for such a choice in those days. He was an expert in the text of the Bible, and thus could know that it contained Kedeshim, sacred male prostitutes (see "Kadesh" and "Canaanites" in the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality). Fray Luis was an enthusiast of the Song of Songs. Mysterious enemies and friends are known from his imprisonment by the Inquisition. Fray Luis's friend and fellow Hebrew scholar Arias Montano also translated the Song of Songs, as well as hymns of David. I cannot stop wondering whether they had contact with the pederastic poetry of the Sephardic middle ages. See J. A. Jones, "Some Aspects of the Friendship and Collaboration between Benito Arias Montano and Pedro de Valencia," in A Face Not Turned to the Wall. Essays on Hispanic Themes for Gareth Alban Davies (Leeds: Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Leeds, 1987), pp. 67-84.
9. The Carmelites and homosexual mysticism. St. John of the Cross lived and
wrote in Granada, within sight of the Alhambra. In his poetry, with precedents
in Sephardic poetry, he takes the female role in a mystical union with God.
In the twentieth century both he and Saint Teresa were taken as Hispanic
homosexual symbols. They are the only Spanish authors mentioned in
Impresiones y paisajes of the young Lorca. Franco had Saint Teresa's
hand, on loan, in his bedroom.
Were they seen as sex-variant people by their contemporaries, and by the early Carmelites? Did they see themselves as such? It seems likely, but the topic remains to be studied. There is abundant Carmelite literature to examine.
10. The humanist professor and writer López de Hoyos, who called Cervantes his "beloved disciple" (on the term, see the article in the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality). For bibliography on López de Hoyos, see Journal of Hispanic Philology, 13 (1989 ), 172.
PART II. Published in [MLA] Lesbian and Gay Studies Newsletter, 18.3 (November, 1991), 27-30.
[[Numbers 11-14 were skipped through a mistake of the author. Nothing has been omitted; it was simply a numbering mistake.]]
15. Homosexuality in Spanish Naples. Naples was not just the center for Renaissance Latin poetry but a major Spanish political center, through which passed Spain's best nobles, politicians, and soldiers. Without an Inquisition for many years after one was established in Spain, it was a place of relative sensual and sexual tolerance. The great Aragonese king Alfonso V "the Magnanimous," who moved his court to Naples, was at least tolerant. He employed as secretary, librarian, and historian the famous Sicilian bisexual Antonio Beccadelli, as falconer the founder of Catalan poetry Ausias March, who is linked with homosexuality in a single document, and Pere Torroella, fifteenth-century Iberia's archmysoginist, also spent time in his court. There is considerable bibliography on Alfonso V. A recent introduction is provided by Nadia Patrone, "Libro de los dichos y hechos del rey Don Alfonso: imagen de un emperador español en la cultura italiana y española," Ph.D. dissertation, Florida State University, 1989.
16. Boy-love flourished in the Turkish empire in the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries. According to Warren Johansen's article "Turkey" in the
Encyclopedia of Homosexuality, "the history of same-sex love is almost
coterminous with the Turkish state." Nicholas Chorier, in The Dialogues
of Luisa Sigea, has a character say that Muslims, by whom he means Turks,
believe that those northern Europeans who reject boys are "insensible of
pleasure; that it is only themselves who have the true smack of voluptuousness"
(North Hollywood: Brandon House, 1965, p. 284).
The city of Algiers merits special mention and study in this regard. Algiers was not only part of the Turkish empire, it was also a city of immigrants. It was filled with Andalusians who left Spain rather than convert to Catholicism, as well as Christians fleeing the Inquisition or the secular authorities; these usually converted to Islam. A sort of anti-Spain, there was, to my knowledge, no city anywhere in the world where homosexuality was more openly practiced at the time. One of the early French consuls, Dubois-Thainville (1800 to 1808), found "a level of depravity unheard of in Europe" ("une corruption des moeurs inconnue aux nations européennes"; cited by Pierre Boyer, La vie quotidienne à Alger a la veille de l'intervention française [Paris: Hachette, 1963], pp. 227-28).
Diego de Haedo, author of the Topography and History of Algiers (1612), is the most important source for Algerian life of the period, as well as an important source on Cervantes' captivity there. He reports: "Although the morabutos [Islamic monks, sufis] pretend to be saintly, they are usually enormous sodomites, and proud of it. They commit the bestial sin publicly in the middle of the market or the main street, with the whole city watching, and the Moors and Turks are so blind that they praise this and think it good" (cited by George Camamis, Estudios sobre el cautiverio en el Siglo de Oro [Madrid: Gredos, 1977], p. 79 [[On Diego de Haedo, see my "Cervantes, autor de la Topografía e historia general de Argel publicada por Diego de Haedo," Cervantes, 16.1 (1996), 32-53.]]). "Sodomy is honorable [in Algiers], because he is most honored who supports the greatest number of boys [garçones], which they care for more than their wives and daughters. Many of the Turks and renegades [converts to Islam], although they are old and famous men...want no other wives than these boys."
Before idealizing the period, however, one should remember that the boys desired as partners were captured Christian (slave) boys, rather than native Muslim boys. The Christian boys and women were held to be superior amorous and sexual partners, a type of self-hatred which produced resentment among the rejected Muslim women. The boy-love is often coupled with an extraordinary misogyny. The last quote continues: "[Many] boast of never having known any women, who they despise and refuse to look at. One of the richest renegades, a Greek, swears that he is so affronted at having been born of a woman that he would kill his mother, were he to see her."
There is abundant source material on Algiers. It is exclusively Christian, and naturally focuses on what the Christians saw as the shortcomings of Algerian society. Bibliography, and the reference for the preceding two quotations, is given in my article "¿Por qué volvió Cervantes de Argel?," in press in Essays in Golden Age Literature Presented to Geoffrey Stagg on His Eightieth Birthday, ed. Ellen Anderson and Amy Williamsen (Newark, Delaware: Juan de la Cuesta; advance copy on request. For more on Turkey, as perceived by the Spaniards, Albert Mas, Les turcs dans la littérature espagnole du siècle d'or (Paris: Centre de Recherches Hispaniques, 1967), II, pp. 326-31: "La lascivité" and "La sodomie."
17. There has recently been much work, especially by Ruth El Saffar and Diana
Wilson, on gender in Cervantes. Rosa Rossi has called attention to Cervantes'
surprising friendship with a prominent homosexual during his captivity in
Algiers. The use of pairs of friends is characteristic of Cervantes' fiction.
"Beloved disciple" of the humanist López de Hoyos, as already mentioned,
Cervantes' childless marriage was far from happy. After two years he signed
the contemporary equivalent of a separation agreement and left on extended
travels in Andalusia. In an unpublished article I have suggested that Cervantes
was the ghost writer of Cristóbal de Chaves' Report on the Sevillian
Jail, which contains the most explicit reference to Lesbian lovemaking
in the period. [[The article is "Repaso crítico de las atribuciones
cervantinas", first published in Nueva revista de filología
hispánica, 38 (1990), 477-92; then in revised form in my Estudios
cervantinos (Barcelona: Sirmio, 1991).]]
There has not yet been a homosexual reading of Don Quixote. Don Quixote and Sancho love each other, although the love is not sexual. Young men are quite deliberately kept out of the work. Sancho is a replacement for Don Quixote's young companion (mozo), who appears fleetingly in the first chapter. There are many anal images in the work, and references to Sancho's "fat buttocks." There are also examples of cross-dressing by both sexes.
18. Cervantes is a lead taking one to other homophile writers of the period (who may well have led celibate or ostensibly heterosexual lives). One is the epic poet Cristóbal de Mesa, who spoke proudly of his five years spent with the Italian author Torquato Tasso, one of the most famous homosexuals of the period. Mesa was the first to translate into Spanish Virgil's famous second eclogue, in which the homosexual love of the shepherd Corydon is openly presented. On the friendship of Cervantes and Mesa, and for bibliography on the latter, see my "Cervantes and Tasso Reexamined," Kentucky Romance Quarterly, 31 (1984), 305-17, p. 310 and n. 41, reprinted and updated in translation in my Estudios cervantinos (Barcelona: Sirmio, 1992).
19. Mesa and Cervantes shared a common patron, the Duke of Béjar, to whom Part I of Don Quijote was dedicated. Béjar was also patron of two authors to be mentioned shortly: Pedro de Espinosa and Góngora. On him, Marqués de Saltillo, "Dos mecenas de Cervantes: El Duque de Béjar y Don Rodrigo de Tapia," Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 130 (1952), 7-61; Vicente Gaos, "El Duque de Béjar y la dedicatoria de la primera parte del Quijote," in his edition of Don Quijote (Madrid: Gredos, 1967), III, pp. 12 ff.
20. Another friend of both Cervantes and Mesa was the religious poet Pedro de Padilla. For an introduction, Ignacio Bajona Oliveras, "La amistad de Cervantes con Pedro de Padilla," Anales cervantinos, 5 (1955-56), 231-41, who comments on other figures of the same circle.
21. Another poet who needs examination from a homophile standpoint is Pedro Soto de Rojas, who wrote of the secret meaning of Granada's gardens and rivers. (Recollections of the Islamic past of Andalusia were often coded allusions to homosexuality, and Granada was its final capital.) He was author of a lengthy poem, only part of which survives, on Adonis. Lorca, also from Granada, was his rediscoverer.
22. Yet another such poet is Pedro de Espinosa. Espinosa, who wrote on Granada (the "Fábula del Genil"), dedicated his Flowers of Illustrious Poets (1605), the great anthology of the period, to the Duke of Béjar.
23. Juan de Tarsis, Count of Villamediana, has been called the Oscar Wilde of his day. Though a flamboyant bisexual, the official charges of sodomy against him, combined with his assassination in 1622, have made him from the beginning an author who symbolized homosexuality. Even though they had to avoid the topic of homosexuality directly, Villamediana has been a favorite topic for gay and bisexual scholars of Spanish culture: Luis Rosales, Juan Manuel Rozas, Joaquín de Entrambasaguas, and I strongly suspect the earlier Narciso Alonso Cortés and Alfonso Reyes. His assassination has seemingly been thoroughly scrutinized; Alonso's classic monograph affirming the centrality of his sexuality to his execution has been severely undermined by the later monograph of Luis Rosales (an intimate friend and probably lover of Lorca). Yet a reading of his works from a gay perspective has yet to be carried out. The best collection of his poetry, together with an up-to-date bibliography, is provided by José Francisco Ruiz Casanova, Poesía impresa completa (Madrid: Cátedra, 1990); a review by Frederick de Armas appeared in Journal of Hispanic Philology, 16 (1991), 78-80. Study is begun by Hans Felten, "Conde de Villamediana: 'Muda selva deidad pisó la mora.' Comentario de un texto," in Homenaje a Alberto Porqueras Mayo (Kassel: Reichenberger, 1989), pp. 277-84, who demonstrates that the sonnet cited depicts "the divinity [divinización] of homoerotic love" (p. 283).
PART III. Published in [MLA] Lesbian and Gay Studies Newsletter, 19.2 (July, 1992), 6-8.
24. Góngora. A homosexual reading of the poetry of Góngora, and the furious controversy it provoked, is badly needed. His ostentatiously complex Solitudes, in which the alienated young protagonist is compared with Ganymede, were undoubtedly read for coded homosexual content. Góngora's poetic followers, such as Soto de Rojas and Sor Juana, were often gay. It is significant that the Solitudes is arguably the most famous poem in the language.
25. A biography of Góngora, the royal chaplain, is also needed. It is not an easy project, and paleographic as well as linguistic skills would be needed. Yet there is a glaring contrast between the attention given Góngora's life and that given the life of heterosexual Lope de Vega, which has been well treated. As was Cervantes' family, Góngora was from Córdoba; Córdoba was Andalusia's capital during the Islamic period, and often served as a homosexual symbol. Góngora has been a favorite topic of gay scholars of previous generations who could not write openly, such as Alfonso Reyes, Antonio Marichalar, and possibly Dámaso Alonso. The famous tercentenary of Góngora in 1927, the defining event for the famous "Generation of 1927," had clear homosexual overtones.
26. El Greco. The homosexuality of the famous painter El Greco has yet to be studied in print. Greek by birth, as his nickname implies, he came to Spain to work on Felipe II's monastery-palace, the Escorial, but the king rejected him. Writers on El Greco, such as Cossío and Gómez de la Serna, were often gay or gay sympathizers.
27. Gregorio Marañón, Spain's leading sexologist in the early twentieth century. Author of an important study of El Greco, in which much may be found between the lines, the doctor and politician Marañón was a humanist who has achieved more enduring fame as a historian than as a doctor. While his theories of endocrine origin of homosexuality and other sexual "illnesses" are very dated (Daniel Eisenberg, Enrique IV and Gregorio Marañón," Renaissance Quarterly, 29 , 21-29), Marañón was a frequent public speaker in the cause of sexual freedom, and wrote on the sexuality of historical figures. In his archives, which are closed, there are sexual histories of the many prominent Spaniards of the period who consulted him about their sexual problems.
28. Toledo and its homosexual circle. It is significant that both El Greco
and Marañón were from Toledo. Felipe II (1556-1598) moved Spain's
capital from Toledo to more compliant Madrid, where he could enforce a
stultifying orthodoxy. Those unable or unwilling to conform took refuge
One such refuge was Toledo itself, still a haunting city worth more than a day visit. In addition to El Greco, members of the Toledan gay circle in the early seventeenth century include the following. All of them are important cultural figures worthy of a study, as is the city's gay culture as a whole. Marañón's many writings on Toledo are a logical point of departure.
29. The Archbishop Bernardo de Sandoval y Rojas, Cervantes' patron. (The Archbishop of Toledo was the head of the Catholic Church in Spain.) Márquez Torres, who signed one of the documents for publication of Part II of Don Quixote, was his pagemaster. An introduction is provided by Rafael Laínez Alcalá, Don Bernardo de Sandoval y Rojas, protector de Cervantes (1546-1618) (Salamanca, 1958). There is an article on Sandoval y Rojas, to whom Vicente Espinel dedicated his Marcos de Obregón, in Figures of Thought, El Greco as Interpreter of History, Tradition, and Ideas (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1982).
30. The religious poet José de Valdivielso, another enthusiast of Cervantes, was the Archbishop's chaplain.
31. The Count of Buenavista, a wealthy noble, owner of the palace and gardens where Sandoval held his literary salon. The local is the setting for Tirso de Molina's novel Los cigarrales de Toledo. A starting place: Ángel Vegue y Goldoni, "Los Cigarrales de Toledo en el Siglo de Oro. Datos para su historia," Revista de las Españas, 2 (1927), 508-18.
32. The renowned court orator Paravicino, a close friend of Góngora, is another worthy candidate for a biography. He was the subject of a famous portrait by El Greco. Paravicino wrote the aprobación for Cristóbal de Mesa's (see previous issue) translation of Virgil's Eclogues, which also contained a prefatory sonnet to Archbishop Sandoval. Salas Barbadillo dedicated Estafeta del dios Momo (Madrid, 1627) to Paravicino; Valdivielso signed its permit (aprobación).
33. Garcilaso. I cannot conclude this section on Toledo without mentioning Garcilaso, Spain's most famous love poet and Toledo's great literary hero, although he was several generations prior to the figures just mentioned. The case for Garcilaso's heterosexuality is far from airtight. There are gaps in his biography. His lovers are mysterious and the tendency of recent scholarship has been to undermine the little that was thought to be known about them. He spent much time in Italy, which for Spain of the early sixteenth century almost automatically implied homosexuality. He knew Latin, and wrote pastoral poetry. He was exiled. The very intensity of emotions expressed in his poetry (the lover without his beloved is as miserable as the dog without its owner, Sonnet 37), especially then, itself suggests homosexual passion. Garcilaso was Cervantes' favorite author: if a document has appeared on homosexual activity by Ausias March, the Catalan poet with whom Garcilaso is most often compared, where the scandal in the suggestion? A starting point: Carroll Johnson, "Personal Involvement and Poetic Tradition in the Spanish Renaissance. Some Thoughts on Reading Garcilaso," RR, 80 (1989), 288-304. Johnson points out (p. 299) that in Garcilaso's poetry, heterosexual infatuation interferes with male bonding, although Johnson sees it as "the Renaissance ideal of male friendship," rather than homosexuality.
34. The playwright Tirso de Molina. Although he lived in Toledo only briefly,
he was one of the many authorsCervantes, whom Tirso admired, was
anotherwith more than casual links with the city. Tirso's novel Los
cigarrales de Toledo portrays the literary salon just referred to.
The sexuality of Tirso, creator of the Don Juan legend, cries out for a thorough examination. There is no doubt that he was homosexual. His order, the Mercedarians, of which he was historian, had a reputation for tolerance to homosexuality: see the study of the lovers B. Bussell Thompson and J. K. Walshthe first ill, the second dead of AIDS"The Mercedarian's Shoes (Perambulations on the fourth tratado of Lazarillo de Tormes)," MLN, 103 (1988), 440-48. Like the twentieth-century García Lorca, Tirso's plays typically have female protagonists. He frequently chose topics which involved variant sexuality. Two major plays deal with Álvaro de Luna, the great symbol of aristocratic homosexual love. (See the article "Juan II" in the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality.) La mejor espigadera deals with Ruth. La venganza de Tamar, set in the court of King David, seethes with passion; "Images of Sexuality" is the first chapter of Everett Hesse's recent study of the play, Tirso's Art in La venganza de Tamar: Tragedy of Sex and Violence (York, S.C.: Spanish Literature Publishing Company, 1991). Hesse has other articles on Tirso's sexuality; see pp. 62 and 67-69 of the volume cited. While women dressed as men are common in Spanish theater of the time, Tirso's Aquiles is one of the rare plays in which men appear dressed as women. Mariano Pallarés Navarro, "Algunos aspectos sexuales en la obra de Tirso de Molina," KRQ, 19 (1972), 3-15; P.R.K. Halkhoree, Social and Literary Satire in the Comedies of Tirso de Molina (Ottawa: Dovehouse, 1989), to be used with the review in BHS, 68 (1991), 533-34.
35. The gambling-house as gay club. We need a social study of the world of gambling in Golden Age Spain. Gambling houses in Madrid, Granada, and other cities were sites for assignation and prostitution, providing youths (mocitos) and little men (caballeritos), 17 years old or less (hasta 17 años). (This information from Pedro Herrera Puga, Sociedad y delincuencia en el Siglo de Oro [Madrid: Católica, 1974], pp. 256-57.) Both Góngora and Cervantes frequented gambling houses; Francisco de Robles, Cervantes' publisher, ran one. Jean-Pierre Étienvre, Márgenes literarios del juego (London: Tamesis, 1990), which has much information on gambling as it appears in contemporary Spanish literature, has a chapter on Cervantes' expertise at card games.
PART IV. Published in [MLA] Lesbian and Gay Studies Newsletter, 19.3 (November, 1992), 7-11.
This is the fourth and final installment of
possible research topics in Hispanic Gay and Lesbian Studies, dealing with
the contemporary period. It is of course incomplete. I would be glad to hear
from any reader with suggestions. My address: Dept. of Modern Languages and
Linguistics, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida 32306 [[now
firstname.lastname@example.org]]. I have not included such well-known and relatively
well-studied authors as Cernuda and Goytisolo, although there is much to
be done on them as well. Also, lesbians in the contemporary period seem to
be particularly reluctant to have their sexuality commented on publicly,
and I have respected that.
Further information, and some suggestions on the post-Franco period, may be found in my articles in the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality (New York: Garland, 1990). The editors would be most grateful if readers would have their libraries order the work, if they do not already have it.
36. Giner de los Ríos and his circle in the Institución Libre de Enseñanza. The figure of the celibate educator Giner, and the Institución Libre de Enseñanza he created, are all but venerated among Spanish liberals, and I too believe he was one of the greatest Spaniards of all times. He was inspired by the example of the great Greeks to become an educator, and was known as the "Spanish Socrates." Note the "mariposas" (butterflies, a gay symbol in Spain) of Antonio Machado's famous elegy on him. The Hellenism of Giner and others influenced by him is particularly worthy of attention.
37. Fernando de los Ríos. The professor, politician, and diplomat Fernando de los Ríos was Giner's nephew and disciple. He moved to Granada in 1911 and soon became the mentor of the young García Lorca (among others). His dissertation, only available in part, is on Plato. He is reported to have defended "ephebocracy" by the hostile Joaquín Arrarás, Memorias íntimas de Azaña (Madrid: Ediciones Españolas, 1939), pp. 116-18. Fernando de los Ríos' daughter Laura married García Lorca's brother Francisco. His correspondence and papers are not open.
38. Unamuno. The sexual orientation of the poet, novelist, and philosopher Unamuno is worthy of attention. There is much circumstantial evidence that he was bisexual. He read Greek fluently, and when he could not get a job teaching philosophy earned his living as a Greek professor. Persons unsatisfied with everyday sexual morality have often turned to Classical studies; knowledge of Latin and especially Greek permitted access to uncensored texts of Catullus's bisexual poetry and such pederastic texts as Plato's Symposium. Yet in his voluminous writings, on a wide variety of topics, Unamuno never touched on Greek culture, an astonishing omission. Unamuno also knew German and was an admirer of German culture, also a sign. Women in his works are mothers, not companions. Unamuno was a great enthusiast of Cervantes and of the mysoginistic Schopenhauer. He had a very personal, Christ-centered, Christianity. One of his novels is Love and Pedagogy.
39. Rubén Darío. While I do not have the "smoking gun" on Darío, there is enough smoke to suggest that a search for the gun might be worthwhile. A poet, a wanderer all over Latin America and Western Europe; the escape to Paris; interest in Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Mallarmé, Lautréamont, whom he was the first to comment on in Spanish; a visit to Tangier (see below); the alleged absence of ideological content to his work (this was also said often of Góngora, discussed above and much a gay symbol in Spain); a preference for urban life and the exploration of it in his work; the use of exotic and artificial locales. It was Darío who brought Góngora to Spain (Dámaso Alonso, Poetas españoles contemporáneos [Madrid: Gredos, 1952], p. 184). While writing about women, he felt the ideal woman was within himself. (See, on his view of the androgyne, Catherine Davies, "Woman as Image in Darío's Prosas profanas," Romance Quarterly, 36 , 281- 88.) Poets he called "torres de Dios," God's towers (Ricardo Gullón, in El simbolismo. Soñadores y visionarios [Madrid: J. Tablate Miquis, 1984], p. 20). A similar phallic image is found in his name, which refers to that part of the body that gives (da) a river (río).
40. Manuel Machado, the Spanish dandy. Up to the Spanish Civil War Manuel, who translated Verlaine, was more famous than his brother Antonio. The war separated the two ideologically and Manuel remained in Spain, on the winning, Fascist side; Antonio died in a refugee camp in France. Manuel's homosexuality, which was public knowledge, has not been discussed. The main introduction to him is Gordon Brotherston, Manuel Machado: A Revaluation (London, Cambridge University Press, 1968). Also see Luis Antonio de Villena, Máscaras y formas de fin de siglo (Madrid: Ediciones del Dragón, 1988), pp. 165-92 and 219-30.
41. Pedro Salinas. The bisexuality of the learned professor and poet Pedro Salinas cries out for discussion. Salinas loved Seville and Andalusia, usually a marker (see topic 21 in the November 1991 issue). He translated Proust, and introduced his student Cernuda to Gide. Salinas was the "inventor" of the so-called Generation of 1927, which celebrated the anniversary of the Andalusian Góngora (see topic 25 in the July 1992 issue). Salinas had at one point a female American student as mistress, which is apparently also taboo to his children (see Andrew Anderson, Romance Quarterly, 34  376).
42. Antonio de Hoyos y Vinent. Publicly gay novelist, shunned in his time, rarely studied and even more rarely republished. See Luis Antonio de Villena, "Antonio de Hoyos y Vinent en 1916 (Sobre Las hetairas sabias)", in Máscaras y formas de fin de siglo (Madrid: Ediciones del Dragón, 1988), pp. 113-22, and "Antonio de Hoyos y Vinent: la pose y la decadencia," in Corsarios de guante amarilla (Barcelona: Tusquets, 1983), pp. 113-21. For an introduction and bibliography, Antonio Cruz Casado, "La novela erótica de Hoyos y Vinent," Cuadernos hispanoamericanos, 426 (1985), 101-16.
43. Lesbianism in early twentieth-century Spain is unexplored territory. If Spain followed the model of other countries, it was probably present in convents and in female military units (during the Republic, if at no other time). A possible starting point is the actress Margarita Xirgu, center of a circle of admiring gay and bisexual theater people, including the playwright García Lorca and the director Cipriano Rivas Cherif. Xirgu, on whom there is the book of Antonina Rodrigo, Margarita Xirgu (Madrid: Aguilar, 1988), was attacked as homosexual by the right (Cipriano Rivas Cherif, "La muerte y pasión de García Lorca," Excelsior [México], January 13, 1957, copy on request). Another clue is the feminist María Martínez Sierra who, with her gay husband Gregorio, helped the literary careers of many. The Martínez Sierras are the only possible gay male-Lesbian couple from this period to have come to my attention. (See, on them, "Una temprana guía gay: Granada (guía emocional) de Gregorio Martínez Sierra (1911)", Erotismo en las letras hisp nicas. Aspectos, modos y fronteras, ed. Luce López-Baralt y Francisco Márquez Villanueva, Publicaciones de la Nueva revista de filología hispánica (Mexico: El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Lingüísticos y Literarios, 1995), pp. 111-20.) A famous Madrid Lesbian of the early twentieth century, Gloria Laguna, is portrayed in Hoyos' novel Las hetairas sabias, according to Luis Antonio de Villena, "Antonio de Hoyos y Vinent en 1916 (Sobre Las hetairas sabias)," in Máscaras y formas de fin de siglo (Madrid: Ediciones del Dragón, 1988), pp. 113-122
44. Other gay and bisexual writers of pre-war Spain. Space prohibits more than noting the following gay or bisexual writers worthy of study. I would be glad to share my notes with anyone interested. Juan Ramón Jiménez, friend of the Martínez Sierra's, the conservative dramatist Jacinto Benavente (Nobel prize, 1922), the chronicler of Madrid life Pedro de Répide, Luis Rosales, poet and lover of Lorca, the novelist Baroja, the poets Emilio Prados, Joaquín Romero Murube (editor of Mediodía), Adriano del Valle (editor of Grecia), Manuel Altolaguirre, Vicente Aleixandre (Nobel prize, 1977), the literary critic Rafael Cansinos Asséns, essayist and translator of Lautréamont Ramón Gómez de la Serna. Because of his expertise on and enthusiasm for Góngora, on whom he is the leading scholar of this century, and for no other reason, I often wonder about Dámaso Alonso.
45. Translator needed. A translator is being sought for Ángel Sahuquillo's Federico García Lorca y la cultura de la homosexualidad masculina. Lorca, Dalí, Cernuda, Gil-Albert, Prados y la voz silenciada del amor homosexual, revised edition (Alicante: Instituto de Cultura "Juan Gil-Albert," 1991). See my review of the first edition, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, 65 (1988), 415-16. The book can be rapidly published if presented in English on disk. The author's address: Radarvägen 29, 6tr, S-183 61 Täby, Sweden. [[Translation is now in progress.]]
46. Franco the queer. The case for the bisexuality of Francisco Franco, a brilliant general who ruled Spain as repressive dictator for almost 40 years, is intriguing. His early career was spent in Morocco (see below), and in the early years he escaped there from Spain whenever possible, leaving his wife behind. He had a personal Moorish guard, the first Spanish ruler to have one since the (gay) Enrique IV in the fifteenth century, and had the Moorish palace (Alcázar) of Seville restored in the middle of the Civil War. Franco was also a supporter of Spain's Sephardic past, a noteworthy thing for an ally of Nazi Germany to be, and slept with the hand of Santa Teresa in his bedroom. (See topics 3 and 9 in the July, 1991, issue). Franco's lover was his long-time companion Carrero Blanco, assassinated in 1973. His archives are closed.
47. Lorca's Death. Although the bibliography on Lorca's death is a miniature
version of that on Kennedy's assassination, fundamental documents, including
the report of the original investigation have not been published. It is certain
that homosexuality is mentioned somewhere in those documents, though what
weight it is given remains to be seen. Certainly Lorca's death was widely
believed at the time, and by those closest to the actual events, such as
Falla and Martínez Nadal, to have involved both homosexuality and
vengeance. I commented on both the lack of documents and the surplus of possible
motives in "Unanswered Questions about Lorca's Death," Angelica [Lucena,
Spain], 1 (1990): 93-107, and excerpted some of its conclusions in Journal
of Hispanic Philology, 16 (1991), 88.
There is an additional piece of information not in that article. One of the mysteries of the whole affair is the attitude of Ramón Ruiz Alonso, who turned Lorca in. According to Jean-Louis Schonberg, whom I interviewed in 1974, Lorca and Ruiz Alonso had been lovers. Such does not seem far-fetched to me, alas, as it fits with the known facts. Schonberg is not much of a scholar but in numerous instances information he gave me has turned out to be correct. It has yet to turn out wrong.
48. A homosexual reading of Lorca's "Oda al santísimo sacramento del
altar." Since we still lack an access to many hundreds of pages of Lorca's
still-unpublished works and correspondence, it is hazardous to undertake
broad studies. However, one can study limited topics. One such is his "Oda
al santísimo Sacramento," only recently published in its entirety.
A beautiful Christ is for Lorca a gay martyr. The mass, eating Christ's body
and drinking his blood, is symbolic of lovemaking.
Educated gay Catholics, capable of reading the Bible for themselves, often understood Christ, surrounded by loving disciples who left their wives, desiring little children to come to him, as a homosexual. I have discussed the problems of access to Lorca's texts in "Lorca and Censorship: The Gay Artist Made Heterosexual," Angélica, 2 (1991), 121-45.
49. The falange. The falange, which became the sole official party in Nationalist (Franco's) Spain after a violent change in orientation in 1937, certainly had a homosexual element in its first period. Its model was the German SA, and in its magazines one can find bare-chested males. Its poetic hero was the publicly homosexual Lorca, and when Lorca was murdered the Falange published numerous tributes, saying that Greece and Andalusia (symbols of homosexuality) would remember him. (For references, see "Unanswered Questions about Lorca's Death," n. 16.) There is ample evidence that falange founder José Antonio Primo de Rivera, friend of Lorca and Franco, was bisexual. The records of the falange are not open.
50. Gay culture in pre-war Granada. Granada was undoubtedly the gayest city in Spain between 1911 and 1936. In Granada there was a gay bar, the Polinario, built on the site of former Moorish bath, and a sympathetic newspaper, El defensor de Granada, with a gay editor, Constantino Ruiz Carnero. Other gays and bisexuals include José María García Carrillo, Eduardo Rodríguez Valdivielso, Miguel Cerón, Falla, Lorca, Luis Rosales, the Arabist Emilio García Gómez, the painters Manuel Ángeles Ortiz, Gregorio Prieto, and Gabriel Morcillo; the educators and teachers of Lorca Martín Domínguez Berrueta, Fernando de los Ríos, and Francisco Soriano Lapresa; briefly, until he was assasinated, the mayor Manuel Fernández Montesinos, Lorca's brother-in-law. See the article Granada in the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality, and my "Una temprana guía gay: Granada (Guía emocional) de Gregorio Martínez Sierra (1911)," cited above (item 43).
51. Adolfo Salazar. The music critic Salazar was, like Fernando de los Ríos, a mentor to the young García Lorca. There is no general study of him. Some notes may be found in Andrew Anderson, "Adolfo Salazar, 'el poeta forastero': Una evocación olvidada de Federico García Lorca," Boletín de la Fundación García Lorca, 4 , 114-19. After the Civil War, Salazar was a refugee and died in Mexico; his papers were in 1975 in the possession of his host and benefactor, Carlos Prieto, and Rafael Sánchez Ventura.
52. Rescue Morla Lynch's diary from destruction. The Chilean ambassador Carlos Morla Lynch held for years a gay literary salon. Of the journal he kept, he published only censored excerpts (En España con Federico García Lorca: Páginas de un diario íntimo [Madrid: Aguilar, 1957]). In 1985, the manuscript was in the possession of his granddaughter, who is reported to have spoken several times of the possibility of destroying it. This would be a tragedy. The granddaughter's name and address is: Verónica Morla, Príncipe de Vergara, 57, Esc. A, 8§ B, 28006 Madrid, (91) 411-03-38. (This appeal has been published in Spanish in Journal of Hispanic Philology, 16, 1991 , 88.)
53. An American gay novel inspired by Spanish renaissance literature. Richard
Amory's Song of the Loon (San Diego: Greenleaf, 1966) declares itself
in the prologue inspired by the Renaissance pastoral novelists Montemayor
and Gil Polo. As such, it is surely the only case of direct influence of
Spanish pastoral fiction on American literature. It also contains the only
ovillejo and glosa (poetic forms) in English that have come
to my attention. It also continues a Spanish Renaissance tradition by having
sequels (Song of Aaron, 1967, Listen, the Loon Sings..., 1968).
The author, reached through the publisher, confirmed my strong suspicion
that he had studied Spanish literature at the graduate level (Berkeley),
though he did not finish his Ph.D., and told me that his true name (Richard
Love) is concealed in the pseudonym in typically Renaissance fashion. The
novel, which is considered a gay classic and has been made into a film, deserves
a study from a Hispanist perspective. Amory is also the author of the gay
erotic novel Frost (New York: Olympia, 1971).
S/M writer and publisher Larry Townsend (Lambda Book Report, May-June, 1992, p. 10) pointed out the influence of Song of the Loon on him.
54. A library awaiting scholars. Spain has a tradition of excellent private libraries (and terrible public libraries). Armand de Fluvià, founder of the Institut Lambda in Barcelona, has a large library, to my knowledge the most complete for Hispanic gay studies, with collections of magazines that are unique, or nearly so. There is so much to be done with these collections, which I have viewed only briefly, that I cannot even begin. Fluvià is cooperative and can be reached at Rambla de Catalunya 99, 08008 Barcelona. He has sent me a letter with many names of modern Catalan gay writers and non-gay writers on homosexuality, which I would be glad to share with anyone interested.
55. Influence of García Lorca on subsequent gay writers. As with the
earlier case of Oscar Wilde, Lorca's supposed martyrdom, widely publicized
at the time, has had considerable influence on gay writers, especially foreign
ones. His early translators have been mostly gay or bisexual: Stephen Spender,
Phillip Cummings, Jean Cassou, Jean Gebser, Edwin Honig, J. B. Trend, Ben
Belitt, Mathilde Pomès (not, I might add, Rolfe Humphries), and no
doubt others. Lorca's influence on Jack Spicer deserves study: "Spicer's
poetic career actually begins in 1957 with the appearance of After
Lorca" (George Klawitter, article on the influential Spicer in the
Encyclopedia of Homosexuality).
In more recent times the influence of Lorca's death is filtered and reactivated by Ian Gibson's biographical studies. For example, Harold Norse has a poem based on a review of Gibson: "We Bumped Off Your Friend the Poet," inspired by a review of Gibson's Death of Lorca, according to an annotation accompanying its publication in Angels of the Lyre. A Gay Poetry Anthology, ed. Winston Leyland (San Francisco: Panjandrum PressGay Sunshine Press, 1975), pp. 161-62. (The poem is also available, minus the annotation, in Norse's The Love Poems 1940-1985 [Trumansburg, N.Y.: Crossing Press, 1986], pp. 111-12, where the credits state that the poem was first published in his book Hotel Nirvana [San Francisco, 1974].)
Within Spain, Lorca's influence on his lover Luis Rosales or on Cernuda and other gay writers has yet to be examined. For the early influence of his legendary sonnets, unpublished in their entirety until 1983, see Mario Hernández, "Jardín deshecho: los Sonetos de García Lorca," El crotalón. Anuario de Filología Española, 1 (1984), 193-228.
56. Franco's Spain. Primary informants can still be interviewed concerning
homosexuality during Franco's Spain (1939-1975) and the years just before.
Information will be lost if it is not recorded. I have interviewed Vicente
Núñez; Ian Gibson has taped extensive interviews with Alberti.
Carlos Bousoño, lover of Vicente Aleixandre, is definitely another
who should be pursued, as is Guillermo Carnero, and Giner de los Ríos
(a descendent of the Giner de los Ríos mentioned above) is another.
The number of writers who can profitably be studied from a gay perspective, let alone clerics and politicians such as Sánchez Bella of the Opus Dei, is staggering. Since poetry attracted least governmental attention and was thus the least censored, it was the favorite gay genre during this period. Some poets worthy of attention: Carlos Bousoño, Guillermo Carnero, Vicente Núñez and other members of the "Cántico" group, Francisco Brines, Leopoldo Panero, Juan Gil-Albert (see Carmen Peña Ardid, "Amor y homosexualidad en Juan Gil-Albert," Cuadernos de Investigación Filológica [Logroño], 14 , 21-39), and the most erotic of the postwar poets, Jaime Gil de Biedma, dead of AIDS in 1990. For an interview with Gil de Biedma, see "Homosexuality in the Spanish Generation of 1927: A Conversation with Jaime Gil de Biedma," Gay Sunshine, Nos. 42-43 (1980), pp. 18-20 and 14 [sic]; translated from El homosexual ante la sociedad enferma (Barcelona: Tusquets, 1978).
57. Morocco. In the November 1991 issue, item 16, I referred to Algiers as
an anti-Spain in the sixteenth century. In the twentieth century, Morocco,
with more direct links with Moorish Spain than did Algiers, has replaced
Algiers in that regard. Although Wilde, Alfred Douglas, Gide, and Crowley
spent time in Algeria, Morocco and especially the autonomous international
city of Tangiers became a destination for gay travelers and pilgrims. Visitors
and residents have included Jean Genet, Aaron Copland, Alfred Chester, Harold
Norse, William Burroughs, Juan Goytisolo, Allen Ginsberg and his lover Peter
Orlovsky, Truman Capote, Joe Orton, Camille Saint-Saens, Tennessee Williams,
Terry Southern, Alan Ansen, Brion Gysin, and Ian Sommerville. Paul Bowles,
from one of whose novels The Sheltering Sky was made, has lived in
Tangiers for most of his life, and William Burroughs for a shorter period.
Remember that the ready availability of hashish and, in Burroughs' case,
of heroin was a factor as well.
There is no single overview of gay Tangiers or gay Morocco. However, there are a lot of "pieces" already done. Paul Bowles and his Lesbian wife Jane were central to the period; Burroughs came to Tangiers after reading Bowles' Sheltering Sky. On Bowles, with his and his wife's sexuality freely treated, Michelle Green, The Dream at the End of the World: Paul Bowles and the Literary Renegades in Tangier (New York: HarperCollins, 1991). Also helpful may be Mohammed Mrabet, Look and Move On: An Autobiography as told to Paul Bowles (Santa Rosa, CA: Black Sparrow, 1976), Mohammed Choukri, Jean Genet in Tangier (reprint, New York: Ecco Press, 1990), and the biographies, diaries, and memoirs of visitors such as Burroughs, Orton, and Norse. Moroccan letters of Chester were published in Christopher Street, 145 (1990), 33-40.
Another source is literature depicting gay Tangiers and Morocco. Besides the fiction of Paul Bowles, novels with relevant content include William Bayer, Tangier (New York: Dutton, 1978), Goytisolo's Don Julian, Burroughs' Naked Lunch, Ronald Tavel, Street of Stairs (New York: Olympia, 1968), and Scott Symons, Helmet of Flesh (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1986).
On Moroccan attitudes to homosexuality (boy-love and the active role in sodomy pecadillos at most, but the passive role incompatible with masculinity), see the volume Sexuality and Eroticism among Males in Moslem Societies, ed. Arno Schmitt and Jehoeda Sofer (Binghampton, NY: Harrison Park Press, 1992), and the article "Africa, North" in the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality (New York: Garland, 1990). An article on gay sex in Morocco, from the French magazine Gay Pied, No. 153, is translated as "Homos en Marruecos," MENsual, 6 (1990), 10-13.