Nothing Ever Just Disappears: Seven Hidden Queer Histories

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An exploration of artistic freedom, survival, and the hidden places of the imagination, including James Baldwin in Provence, Josephine Baker in Paris, Kevin Killian in San Francisco, and E. M. Forster in Cambridge, among other groundbreaking queer artists of the twentieth century.

Nothing Ever Just Disappears is radical new history of seven queer lives and the places that shaped these groundbreaking artists.

At the turn of the century, in the shade of Cambridge's cloisters, a young E. M. Forster conceals his passion for other men, even as he daydreams about the sun-warmed bodies of ancient Greece. Under the dazzling lights of interwar Paris, Josephine Baker dances her way to fame and fortune and discovers sexual freedom backstage at the Folies Bergère.

And on Jersey Island, in the darkest days of Nazi occupation, the transgressive surrealist Claude Cahun mounts an extraordinary resistance to save the island she loves, scattering hundreds of dissident artworks along its streets and shorelines.

Nothing Ever Just Disappears brings to life the stories of seven remarkable figures and illuminates the connections between where they lived, who they loved, and the art they created. It shows that a queer sense of place is central to the history of the twentieth century and powerfully evokes how much is lost when queer spaces are forgotten.

From the suffragettes in London and James Baldwin's home in Provence, to Kevin Killian's San Francisco and Derek Jarman's cottage in Kent, this is both a thrilling new literary history and a celebration of freedom, survival, and the hidden places of the imagination.

About the Author

Dr. Diarmuid Hester is a writer and academic based at the University of Cambridge. He is a radical cultural historian and an authority on sexually dissident literature, art, film, and performance. Diarmuid is currently a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in English at the University of Cambridge, and a research associate of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. His writing has appeared in The Guardian, the Irish Times, gorse, n+1, The New Inquiry, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. He is the author of Wrong: A Critical Biography of Dennis Cooper (University of Iowa Press, 2020).

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Publisher: Pegasus Books
Pub date: February 06, 2024
368 pages
Format: Hardcover