Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

January 30, 1994|CHRIS GOODRICH

THE BOOK OF SODOM by Paul Hallam (Verso: $24.95; 290 pp.). It's poignant in this age of AIDS to come across a character who muses, with modern "Sodomites" in mind, "this race must be indestructible, if God himself was unable to destroy them." The passage--drawn from Michel Tournier's novel "The Four Wise Men"--is one of 40-odd works cited in "A Sodom Anthology," the book-within-a-book that British screenwriter Paul Hallam has compiled in what might be called an idiosyncratic gay scrapbook. Hallam, who admits to being obsessive, has a burning desire to understand the responses to, if not the origins of, his own homosexuality: why, for example, Sodom has for millennia been thought of as homosexuality's capital city, when both the Bible and the Talmud seem much more concerned with the Sodomites' avarice than their bed partners. Hallam has turned up many references to Sodom in literature, in every combination of low and high, famous and obscure: Hallam includes excerpts from Proust, Milton, Dante and Sade, as well as relevant portions of gay-bashing sermons, gay-satirizing plays, gay-baiting criminal trials and the like. Hallam's autobiographical essay on his search for Sodom, ironically, is often more interesting than the anthology itself, perhaps because the anti-Sodom screeds are so thoughtless, composed of little but frothing, bug-eyed fear.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|