John M. Clum

John M. Clum is the author of a number of books on modern and contemporary drama including Still Acting Gay: Male Homosexuality in Modern Drama, Something for the Boys: Musical Theater and Gay Culture, Arthur Laurents: Politics, Love, and Betrayal, and Terrence McNally and Fifty Years of American Gay Drama.

He is the author of numerous essays on drama, opera, and musical theater and is also a director, playwright and opera librettist.

Mr. Clum is Professor Emeritus of Theater Studies and English at Duke University. He currently resides in Chicago.

Book Reviews by John M. Clum

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There’s a lot to argue with in Joseph Horowitz’s Dvorák’s Prophecy and the Vexed Fate of Black Classical Music.

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“Selva Almada manages to get inside the minds of her characters.”

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Singing Like Germans is a superb piece of historical research enlivened by its author’s deep fascination with her subject matter.”

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Oscar Wilde: A Life is elegantly written . . . Dense with detail, it draws the reader into Wilde’s milieu.

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It is interesting to note how many works of generic gay fiction (mysteries, romance), which one would think would be a male province, are written by women under male pen names (eg.

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Dominic Janes takes on a number of topics in this wide-ranging book, Freak to Chic.

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“Hirahara’s careful plotting and easy style help to create vibrant characters and a vivid picture of life for Japanese-Americans at a particularly difficult time.”

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All the Water I’ve Seen Is Running is a worthy addition to the group of fine recent novels about gay men of color looking for their own sense of racial and ethnic identity as well

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On the eve of World War II, inspired by a visit to the home of philosopher and gay rights advocate Edward Carpenter and his partner George Merrill, E. M.

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Bath Haus is not just excellent gay fiction . . . absorbing and exciting . . .”

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“Matthew Clark Davison’s Doubting Thomas is an absorbing story of a gay man who finally learns to love.”

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“Nava is an impassioned writer who has once again created a fascinating picture of Los Angeles at an earlier, less enlightened time, centering on gay men trying to shed the shame they have

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A Light in the Dark by veteran film scholar and critic David Thompson is not so much a comprehensive history of film directors—that would take a much larger volume than this—as it is a ser

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Mike Nichols: A Life is an invaluable contribution to the history of American theatre and film since World War II as well as a colorful portrait of one of its most celebrated and

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Critics for years have argued about whether T. S. Eliot was a closeted homosexual.

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The Queering of Corporate America vividly recounts one of the more important narratives in the history of LGBTQ+ people in America.”

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“Nesbo is always a great storyteller. The world he depicts is bleak and potentially depressing, but he presents it with relentless power.”

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What Were We Thinking will give you a fascinating overview and analysis of the books that explain where we are now, how we got here, and where we might be headed.”

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Memorial is a deeply moving book by a young novelist with a unique voice and a strong sense of optimism.”

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“There is no question that Nemerever is a gifted writer. The rich style, precise in description and filled with witty metaphor, carries one along.”

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The inspiration for Marjorie Garber’s interesting but ultimately frustrating book seems to be the political ascendancy of Donald Trump.

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Boys of Alabama is a beautiful book that carries the reader along on a tide of rich, eloquent language.”

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Between 1955 and 1989, legendary choreographer-dancer Martha Graham and her company made a series of international tours under the aegis of various government agencies and governm

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“One senses on every page Kaplan’s enthusiasm for his subject as well as his deep knowledge.”

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Audience of One: Donald Trump, Television, and the Fracturing of America is a must read for those who want to understand the media phenomenon now in the White House.”

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“The Contender is an impressive book, a must for fans of Brando and of film acting. . . .

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“Daniel Mendelsohn fulfills his own criteria for good criticism. His erudition is always impressive, but one never feels that he is showing off.

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“Crain’s gift is in analyzing intense human relationships.”

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“Elvis in Vegas is a must-read for fans of Elvis and for all who are interested in the history of popular entertainment in America.” 

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“Reading The History of Living Forever is a thoroughly enjoyable experience.”

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“a fascinating, provocative book aimed at gay readers written in a pleasant, conversational style.”

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“Veteran novelist Timothy Jay Smith knows how to spin an interesting tale.”

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“Weis’ book is particularly fascinating in offering a detailed picture of the place of the courtesan in 19th century Parisian social life.”

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“Holly van Leuven has written an exhaustively researched, well-written chronicle of Bolger’s life and career.

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This is not the first book to be published on this subject (see for instance  Physics and the Art of Dance by Kenneth Laws and Arlene Sugano, or Laws’ earlier volume, The Physics of Da

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“There are detailed descriptions of performances of the opera and adaptations it inspired and the book is richly illustrated.

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English opera in the 1920s may seem to some an odd topic. What we now know as the Royal Opera did not begin until after World War II.

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While the history of the creative relationship between choreographer George Balanchine and impresario Lincoln Kirstein has been chronicled before in books on and by both subjects, James Steichen’s

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There have been two excellent, lengthy biographies of director-choreographer Jerome Robbins: Deborah Jowitt’s Jerome Robbins and Amanda Vaill’s Somewhere: A Life of Jerome Robbins

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“Playing to the Gods is a useful entry into the careers and lives of these two extraordinary artists.”

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“[a] well-written memoir.”

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Actor-writer Simon Callow has published books on larger-than-life figures Oscar Wilde, Charles Laughton, and Orson Welles.

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The fact that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera is by far the longest running Broadway show (over 12,500 performances at this writing and still going strong), is baffling to some