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Young Man from the Provinces

A Gay Life before Stonewall

2003
Author:

Alan Helms

Young Man from the Provinces

An insider’s account of gay high society in pre-Stonewall New York City—now back in print!

Young, intelligent, and handsome, Alan Helms left a brutal midwestern childhood for New York City in 1955 and soon became an object of desire in a gay underground scene frequented by, among many others, Noel Coward, Leonard Bernstein, and Marlene Dietrich. In this vivid and sensitive account, Helms describes the psychological and physical toll of being a sex object.

Riveting.

New York Times Book Review

Young, intelligent, and handsome, Alan Helms left a brutal midwestern childhood for New York City in 1955. Denied a Rhodes scholarship because of his sexual orientation, he soon became an object of desire in a gay underground scene frequented by, among many others, Noel Coward, Leonard Bernstein, and Marlene Dietrich. In this unusually vivid and sensitive account, Helms describes the business of being a sex object and its psychological and physical toll.

Young Man from the Provinces

Alan Helms is professor of literature at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Young Man from the Provinces

Riveting.

New York Times Book Review

Extraordinary and elegantly written. A record of a gay world that has virtually disappeared over the past twenty-five years of liberation and fifteen years of AIDS.

Boston Globe

A beautifully written memoir. Helms sped through the celebrity-packed fast lanes, lost friends to AIDS and much of his hair, but he has learned how to stand back and get some perspective.

Los Angeles Times

Sublimely funny, engaging, pathetic, highly literary, and painful to read. Helms seems like a gay Everyman whose quest for self-knowledge, respect, and contentment in this contemptuous world mirrors that of many other marginalized people.

Bloomsbury Review