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The Third Sex

Lawrence R. Schehr

Publication Year: 2007

Thirty-two years before Simone de Beauvoirs classic The Second Sex, popular French novelist Willy published The Third Sex, a vivid description of the world of European homosexuals in France, Italy, and Germany during the late 1920s. Stepping directly into the heart of gay mens culture, Willy follows homosexual nightlife into music halls, nightclubs, casinos, bars, and saunas. While he finds plenty of drug and alcohol abuse, he also discovers homosexual publishers, scientific societies, group rivalries, and opinions--both medical and political--about the nature of homosexuality itself. Lawrence R. Schehrs introduction provides context and translators notes for this first-ever English edition.

Published by: University of Illinois Press

front cover

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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. vi

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Translator's Introduction

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pp. vii

Toward the end of a long life on the Parisian literary scene, Willy turned his sights to a topic that was new to him, a seeming radical departure from his usual interests in the demimonde, in Montmartre, in potboilers about women with modern morals, and in tales about...

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pp. 1-10

Recently, I found the following statement whose banality leads to troubling concern. It was written by one of our fellow authors, whom Willy will undoubtedly relegate to the category of pompous critics of moral values: “There are eras of veritable social hermaphroditism...

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pp. 11-14

Provoked by one of those wise articles on homosexuality in literature for which Paul Souday1 has the knack, a recent survey in the journal Les Marges dispels with an amusing light the shadows of hypocrisy in which Parisians in general and writers in particular....

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1. Looking across the Borders

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pp. 15-31

How can we speak of pederasty without making people think immediately of Germany and its extraordinary organization of the “vice,” more widespread there than in any other country in Europe?*,1 Already before the war, Germany put up with it, if I dare...

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2. A Bit of Psychology

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pp. 32-40

I have already pointed out about the unique Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, grand master of Germanic homosexuality, the important difference, if not to say fundamental, that separates the concepts of the old apostle from the more “advanced” theories of the dissident...

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3. Some Leaders

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pp. 41-55

Among all the well-known inverts of antiquity, the case of the dashing Alcibiades has been particularly commented on, especially because of his “Socratic” relations that sent the slanderers of...

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4. The Tour for the "Curious"

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pp. 56-69

If the “men-women” do not have the official and quasi-military organization in which Germany takes pride, they still have found the means of having rather interesting, small corporate groupings...

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5. Varied Opinions

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pp. 70-80

“So our era is thus infamous!” exclaimed one of my friends, a virtuous man, who makes eloquent speeches at the Ligue des Pères de Famille, singing vespers every Sunday in his parish; he canceled his subscription to L’Illustration because the issue devoted to the Salon had a nude...

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6. Androgynous Literature

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pp. 81-94

Would you not say that these lines were written for the Nouvelles [Stories] of Axieros?2 This young author (he just died), whose identity could be revealed to us by his editor, Figuière [sic],3 carved out a whole collection of tendentious short stories,4 little known to...

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pp. 95-98

As the readers of these pages have been able to realize, “average Frenchmen,” and even a number of men of letters, often mix two questions that should remain radically distinct: the brazen impudence of inversion and the abuse of a certain publicity. The fault lies with...


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pp. 99-130


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pp. 131-132


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pp. 133-138

back cover

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p. 154-154

E-ISBN-13: 9780252092909
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252032165

Page Count: 152
Publication Year: 2007