by Hester, Diarmuid | Humanities
Published 31/08/2023 by Penguin Books Ltd (Allen Lane) in the United Kingdom
Hardback | 368 pages
‘With originality and subtlety, Diarmuid Hester examines how the gay imagination deals with place and with displacement, allowing for mystery and a kind of magic’ Colm Toibin’Hester is a fizzingly brilliant writer’ Robert Macfarlane’Haunted and haunting – totally riveting’ Chris KrausAt the turn of the century, in the shade of Cambridge’s cloisters, a young E. M. Forster conceals his passion for other men, even as he daydreams about the sun-warmed bodies of ancient Greece.
Under the dazzling lights of interwar Paris, Josephine Baker dances her way to fame and fortune and discovers sexual freedom backstage at the Folies Bergere. And on Jersey, in the darkest days of Nazi occupation, the transgressive surrealist Claude Cahun mounts an extraordinary resistance to save the island she loves, scattering hundreds of dissident artworks along its streets and shorelines. Nothing Ever Just Disappears brings to life the stories of seven remarkable figures and illuminates the connections between where they lived, who they loved, and the art they created.
It shows that a queer sense of place is central to the history of the twentieth century, and powerfully evokes how much is lost when queer spaces are forgotten. From the lesbian London of the suffragettes to James Baldwin’s home in Provence, to Jack Smith’s New York, Kevin Killian’s San Francisco and the Dungeness cottage of Derek Jarman, this is a thrilling new history and a celebration of freedom, survival and the hidden places of the imagination.