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David Leavitt
(Jerry Bauer/Houghton Mifflin)

  David Leavitt published his first short story in The New Yorker in 1982 while still an undergraduate at Yale--it was also the magazine's first openly gay fiction. Leavitt's literary reputation was cemented by a trio of finely wrought works (Family Dancing [1985], The Lost Language of Cranes [1986, adaptation shown on PBS], Equal Affections [1989]), that elevated him above many media-celebrity contemporaries. But in 1993, Leavitt's reputation suffered severe damage when his novel While England Sleeps, based on Stephen Spender's 1951 memoir World Within Word, was withdrawn from publication after the still-living poet threatened to sue Leavitt for "plagiarizing my life." Spender died in July 1995 before a revised American edition was published with a Leavitt preface in which he referred to the poet as "an enemy of the imagination." In 1996, Leavitt published three novellas in one volume, Arkansas (including a fictionalized account of the Spender drama) and Italian Pleasures, an American expat's ode to the joys of Italian architecture, cuisine and boys, written with his partner Mark Mitchell.

 


  The Lost Language of Cranes A remarkable first novel about a complex family and a marriage suddenly imperiled by the revelation of long-kept secrets; a son's discovery of his own homosexuality, a father's longing to be able to live like his son, and a mother's despair. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable... Read more

  Martin Bauman; Or, a Sure Thing Martin Bauman, the gay writer protagonist of Leavitt's self-referential novel, has not even come out to himself let alone his parents or friends when he enters college in 1980. Happiest in the company of lesbians and seemingly immune to lust or love, he assiduously cultivates his literary ambitions... Read more

  Arkansas : Three Novellas David Leavitt's reputation has rested upon stories and novels that explicate a sedate, upper-middle class world of reserved emotions and sexuality. In his new collection of three novellas Arkansas, he explores new territory. Droll, surprising, and very sexy, these works often shock and startle the... Read more

  The Page Turner David Leavitt's Arkansas was the surprise of his career: funny, sexy, and thematically adventurous, it was a complete break from his more traditional narratives. Now, in The Page Turner, Leavitt returns to the style and type of story that made him famous. Noted pianist Richard Kennington is a former... Read more

  While England Sleeps Best known for The Lost Language of Cranes (1988), recently adapted into a BBC TV movie, Leavitt is one of the most gifted writers of gay fiction. The prose of both Cranes and his new novel is positively lyrical. While England Sleeps is a historical romance in the purest sense. The narrator, Brian... Read more

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