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Lesbian & Gay Pulp Fiction

Finding Titles

The links below will bring up catalog listings of all books in these two gay male pulp collections (some overlap between lists). Additional titles may be found through the online catalog. Try browsing subject headings such as "Gay men - Fiction."

Carl V. Corley Papers

Cover art for The Purple Ring, large drawing of man's face with one tear; scantily-dressed muscular man in foregroundThe Carl V. Corley Papers contain writings, drawings, scrapbooks, notebooks, and published materials that document the career and artistic output of this novelist and illustrator who published twenty-two works of gay male pulp fiction. The collection also includes typescripts and manuscripts of published and unpublished works of gay fiction, southern history, and heterosexual erotica, some of which is in the form of comic books or graphic novels. Materials from this collection are featured on and an addition to the collection is described in this blog post. Cover art for the novel The Purple Ring pictured at right.

Gay American Pulps and Gay Male Mysteries & Police Stories

"They are an integral aspect of gay male culture and gay history that is as vital asindeed inseparable fromour fight for legal equality and personal freedom. They are the recordsalbeit fictional ones, often seen through the peculiar lenses of their timesof how gay men lived, thought, desired, loved and survived."

- Michael Bronski (2001) Fictions About Pulp. The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, v8, (6), pg. 18.

Queer Fear book coverIn November 2005, the Bingham Center received an initial donation of 378 gay male mysteries and police stories and 109 gay American pulps generously given by Drewey Wayne Gunn, Professor Emeritus, Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Gunn is the definitive collector of gay male mysteries and wrote the 2005 book The Gay Male Sleuth in Print and Film: A History and Annotated Bibliography.

Gunn first discovered gay paperbacks at convenience stores in the small Texas town where he lived during the 1960s. After retirement, Gunn began his research into the gay male mystery and pulp fiction genres. Gunn is also the author of several articles and other books including Mexico in American and British Letters (Scarecrow, 1974) and Tennessee Williams (Scarecrow, 1980; 2nd ed., 1991).

History of Gay Male Mystery and Pulp Fiction Genres

Donnie and Clyde book coverIn the late 1950s through the mid 1960s, U.S. Supreme Court rulings challenged the censorship and custom laws used to levy "obscenity" charges against books with controversial themes. In the wake of these legal victories and with the flourishing of the homophile movement, there was an explosion of gay "pulp" fiction publishing.

Besides serving as a "validation of gay male sexual desires" (Bronski, 2001, p.20), these books, written primarily by gay men, offered readers insights into how gay men lived. They served as primers on gay cultural norms for newly coming out or isolated gay men. At first, these gay-themed books did not acknowledge the possibility of a "gay life," just "gay sex," but as gay culture and politics Disco Danger book coverdeveloped, gay fiction reflected a new all-encompassing culture separate from the "straight world."

The Collection
The Drewey Wayne Gunn and Jacques Murat Collection of Gay American Pulps and the Drewey Wayne Gunn Collection of Gay Male Mysteries and Police Stories are made up primarily of books printed by low-budget publishers in the post-Stonewall era (after 1969). The pulp novels, mostly from the 1970s, are often pornographic explorations of gay male desires.

Many titles celebrate young men discovering their sexuality. Common themes include enjoying same-sex relationships without fear, coming out with pride, finding love, creating families and communities, and fighting oppression. Countering these positive themes, pulps also titilate readers by depicting police willing to use their power to sexually abuse defenseless men and boys.False Confessions book cover

In an effort to pass the Supreme Court's new standards, introductions in a number of these books discuss how that particular novel fits within the historical context of homosexuality and why the title is a necessary step in dismantling "sexual repression." There are currently 109 titles in our gay American pulps collection which has been supplemented with the purchase of 58 additional gay male pulps.

A Queer Kind of Death book coverBy the 1980s and 1990s, as gay culture entered into the mainstream, gay-themed novels were printed by prominent publishing houses. The novels' themes expanded, too, not only focusing on sex, but also expanding into literary and genre fiction. The Drewey Wayne Gunn Collection of Gay Male Mysteries and Police Stories currently consists of 378 books ranging from mainstream hardbacks to Japanese manga to the specialized publisher, "adult only" titles.

The publishing world has evolved to the extent that some of the writers represented in this collection aren't classified as "gay writers." Examples of well-known authors whose books are in this collection include: Paul Monette, Joe R. Lansdale, Mark Dunn, Julian Barnes (writing as "Dan Kavanaugh"), Poppy Z. Brite, Larry Townsend, and Robert B. Parker.