Posts Tagged ‘Adrian Daub’

A chance to meet the man who “invented San Francisco”: Armistead Maupin at Stanford on Wednesday, Nov. 28

Sunday, November 25th, 2018

Adrian Daub

On Wednesday, Nov. 28, author Armistead Maupin will be visiting Stanford – first signing books in the Bishop Auditorium lobby at 5:30 and then joining us for a screening of The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin. At 7:15 p.m., Stanford’s Prof. Adrian Daub will engage him in an onstage conversation with filmmaker Jennifer Kroot.

A few words from Adrian below (some of you might remember his lively presence during the Another Look discussion of J.R. Ackerley’s My Father and Myself):

For an entire generation of Bay Area residents, the Tales of the City, which appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle in serialized form from 1976 to 1989, was appointment reading, but since then readers have largely encountered the Tales and their sequels in novel-form and in an HBO miniseries starring Laura Linney (and due to be revived next year). Which means, maybe he hasn’t been part of the fabric of their lives as much as he was for their elders. Nevertheless, they have lived in the world he created. Quentin Crisp once joked that in Tales, Maupin “invented San Francisco” — and the stories of various residents unknown, famous, and infamous indeed explained and dramatized tumultuous decades of San Francisco history as they were unfolding.

The Tales were also crucial in making LGBT culture mainstream — he was among the first novelists to feature a serious, fleshed out and sympathetic trans character, he was among the very first writers to tackle AIDS. But he never tackled them as issues, as challenges — they wove themselves into the Tales almost by necessity. The Tales are a spell he has woven around San Francisco for more than forty years, a spell that allowed the city to see itself for what it was, is, and could be. It therefore feels so appropriate that we get to host Armistead Maupin at Stanford on Nov. 28 — 40 years and a day after the murder of Harvey Milk and George Moscone. The forty years are about reflecting what that turbulent time meant, and how our own present would measure up before its fears and promises. And the day is about writing and thinking about the next step.

J.R. Ackerley’s My Father and Myself comes to Stanford

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Roger and Joe Ackerley, 1913 (Photo courtesy Harold Ober Associates)

J.R. Ackerley led an outwardly quiet life between his flat in suburban Putney and his London office at The Listener, the BBC’s weekly magazine, where he worked from 1935 to 1959.  Though he was the leading literary editor of his generation, he was in no hurry to publish his own work – hence, his controversial memoir appeared posthumously.

Now his following is growing.  It’s likely to expand further when Stanford’s “Another Look” book club takes on My Father and Myself, exploring Ackerley’s life as a gay man and his determined outing of long-held family secrets. A book discussion will be held Oct. 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Stanford Humanities Center’s Levinthal Hall.  The event is free and open to the public.

The evening will be moderated by Terry Castle, professor of English and author of  The Professor and Other Writings. She will be joined by Adrian Daub, an associate professor of German studies, and Jeffrey Fraenkel, founder of San Francisco’s Fraenkel Gallery for photography.  The event launches the second year of “Another Look,” founded by the English/Creative Writing Department.

It’s not the first time Stanford has had a role in beating the drums for My Father and Myself.  When Edwin Frank, a former Stegner Fellow in Stanford’s Creative Writing Program, founded the New York Review Books Classics in 1999, none of Ackerley’s books were in print.  Frank republished all four – they were among the first titles of the eminent series that rediscovers out-of-the-way classics.

Given current critical esteem, their former obscurity is surprising, but Frank cites several reasons why this was so. “He published one book early on, and it was a success.  Then he didn’t write anything for years on end. If you do that, you will have a more vulnerable career as a writer,” he explained. “My Dog Tulip was published privately.  My Father and Myself was posthumous.  We Think the World of You was published in 1963 – it was a relatively open picture of a gay relationship between two none-too-appealing people.

“Each of the books is odd,” said Frank.  “They don’t match anybody’s expectations. Ackerley’s books are not good in the way people expect them to be good.”

Read the rest here.

There’s more.  At the “Another Look” website here, you can read:

“The Many Loves of J.R. Ackerley”

J.R. Ackerley was sitting on a park bench with Forrest Reid in Hyde Park, when the older writer asked him, “Do you really care about anyone?”

In My Father and Myself, Ackerley says he pondered the remark long afterwards. “To this searching question I do not know the answer, it goes too deep; since people and events vanish so easily from my memory it may be no.”  Not everyone shares his assessment. “It is characteristic of him to report against himself – he fears he is an uncaring person,” said Edwin Frank, founder of the New York Review Books Classics.

When accused of hating the human race, however, Ackerley was quite startled: “I am not a misanthropist,” he insisted. “I like people and get on well with them; I am only a numerical misanthropist.” To stem the rising population tide, he recommended homosexuality. No one could be entirely sure how serious he was.

8Read the rest here.

“Sometimes Love Really is a Bitch” 

My Father and Myself is dedicated simply “To Tulip.”

Tulip’s identity is no enigma. Although the real name of J.R. Ackerley’s dedicatee was “Queenie,” his editors worried the name had racy connotations, even for a dog, and hence the title of his earlier book had been My Dog Tulip. It is perhaps the only story of a man and his dog in which the two are treated as equals.

Read the rest here.