Valancourt Books: Forgotten Gay Literature, Rediscovered
Valancourt Book launched in 2005 as an independent small press specializing in rediscovering neglected and out-of-print works of fiction. The catalogue includes literary fiction, gothic horror and queer classics. "I think it's important still to read the gay classics of earlier generations and remember what the struggle was like then and how thankful we should be for how far we've come," Valancourt publisher James Jenkins told The Huffington Post.
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One of the publisher's greatest finds is Teleny. Attributed but never officially confirmed as a book by Oscar Wilde, the novel is considered by many as the first and finest work of gay erotica. First published anonymously in 1983, Teleny's got beautiful strangers, gay orgies and a doomed love affair.
Valancourt has also re-published The Sins of the Cities of the Plain, another gay Victorian novel penned by an anonymous author.
"One thing that strikes me about Sins is that, aside from the occasional old-fashioned Briticism, a lot of the porn passages seem astonishingly modern for a book from 1881," Jenkins told Lambda Literary. "The fluidity of the sexuality is really interesting."
In addition to recruiting contemporary authors to contribute a new introduction to these forgotten works, Valancourt repackages them with modern, bold covers to catch the wandering, smartphone-fixed eyes of present-day readers. Some of these new covers pay tribute to the work's pulp origins and some are completely re-envisioned to match the look of book covers across bookshelves in the 21st century.
Check out some of their awesome covers below and to purchase your copy from their extensive and much-treasure catalog visit the Valancourt Books website here.