A Little Gay History


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  • Listen to  an audio  recording about  A Little Gay  History

    How old is the oldest chat- up line between men? Who was the first ‘lesbian’? Were ancient Greek men who had sex together necessarily ‘gay’? And what did Shakespeare think about cross- dressing?

    A Little Gay History takes objects ranging from Ancient Egyptian papyri and the erotic scenes on the Roman Warren Cup to images by modern artists including David Hockney and Bhupen Khakhar to consider questions such as these. Explored are the issues behind forty artefacts from ancient times to the present, and from cultures across the world, to ask a question that concerns us all: how easily can we recognize love in history?

    Concise and beautifully illustrated with objects from the British Museum’s far- ranging collection, A Little Gay History provides an intriguing and valuable insight into the range, diversity and complexity of same- sex experiences.


    R. B. Parkinson is internationally known as a specialist in Ancient Egyptian texts and a curator of ancient Egyptian culture at the British Museum. His books for the British Museum Press include Voices from Ancient Egypt, The Tomb-Chapel of Nebamun and The Pocket Guide to Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs.

    Read more about same-sex desire and gender identity on the British Museum website

  • Product code: cmc51007
    Details: Released in June 2013
    Exhibition: Pompeii and Herculaneum
    World culture: Ancient Greece
    Title: A Little Gay History
    Subtitle: Desire and Diversity across the World
    Author: R. B. Parkinson
    ISBN: 978 0 7141 5100 7
    Format: Paperback with flaps
    Number of pages: 128 pages
    Size: 19cm x 17cm
    llustrations: 80 colour illustrations
    Publication date: June 2013
    Weight: 0.336kg
    Standard UK delivery: 5 working days. Overseas times may vary

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*Awarded the 2014 Stonewall Honor Book for Non-Fiction by the American Library Association’s Stonewall Book Awards committee*

*Awarded Best New General Publication by the Association of Cultural Enterprises*

Engrossing and illuminating…Parkinson’s book reminds us there is nothing new about homosexuality.
The Times

Moving and fascinating.
Featured by Simon Russell Beale in The Sunday Times Culture magazine

It proves that, if you swear by ancient tradition in matters of love and sex, you’ll end up in the queerest spots.
The Independent

[The book] draws on 40 objects, ranging from ancient Egyptian papyri to images by modern artists, including David Hockney.
The Bookseller

Parkinson successfully shows that same-sex love and desire are an integral part of human history.
Publishers Weekly

[The book] explores artistic portrayals of what it means to be gay and the difficulties in finding records of same-sex desire.
BBC News

Concise and well-illustrated.
Diva magazine

A gem.
Morning Star

Well illustrated.
Australian Review of Public Affairs

Fascinating, fun and recommended.
Outsmart magazine

Coming from the British Museum, you may expect quality in research and content; you won't be disappointed… The academic power makes this book as explosive as a bombshell.
Patrick von Stutenzee’s History Blog

Minerva magazine

Draws on dozens artifacts for a historical and cultural look at same-sex experiences.
Star Tribune

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