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Hard to Imagine 
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Product Details 
488 pages 
Columbia University Press 
Published 1996 
The history of gay male erotic images is largely undocumented. Even when the material has been available, "good taste" and "common decency"--those concepts used to stop all talk about sex--have prevented their display. Thomas Waugh's full-length, profusely illustrated study is a breakthrough book that has information and analysis enough for three books. Thoughtful, smart, and well-written, Hard to Imagine uncovers a visual history of gay male eroticism that few know. It chronicles the complicated history of homosexual desire and how it has been depicted and repressed.  
From Library Journal 
Social historians and researchers in popular culture have recognized for some time how easily their primary sources can get lost, discarded by their users and uncollected by institutions affiliated with the dominant class. Though it is now more than two decades since historians have sought to retrieve the personal stories and reconstruct the political currents of gay and lesbian lives, social taboos have sufficiently repressed serious investigation of the sexual tastes and products of gay... read more  
Book Description 
Honorable mention as an outstanding book in film, television and video studies, Society for American Studies; A VLS Favorite Book of the Year Spanning more than a century of photography and film, Hard to Imagine is the first visual chronicle of the evolution of gay male image culture, from the canonical works of "art" photography and cinema to the private and often highly explicit productions of amateurs. This comprehensive work explores a vast, eclectic tradition in its totality, analyzing the aesthetics of the visual imagery, its production, circulation, and consumption, and broad social and legal implications.
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