Before George Chauncey, before John Boswell, historian Rictor Norton broke a lot of barriers by publishing The Homosexual Literary Tradition in 1972 and, an all-time favorite of mine, Mother Clap's Molly House: The Gay Subculture in England 1700-1830 in 1992. Among his many other books are Myth of the Modern Homosexual: Queer History and the Search for Cultural Unity and an anthology selected for Thebes' best books survey called My Dear Boy: Gay Love Letters Through the Centuries. For anyone interested in queer history, his website is a must.
Only a few years after the Oscar Wilde trials, Forrest Reid published his second novel The Garden God: A Tale of Two Boys [and Kindle] while still a student at Christ's College, Cambridge, and with all the ignorant optimism of youth, he dedicated the book to his 62 year-old friend Henry James. The Master was shocked at the gay love story and outraged to be named in it; he never again spoke to Reid. A happier Cambridge connection came with E.M. Forster who continued to write and visit his former pupil until Reid's death in 1947. When a blue plaque was ready for Reid's house in 1952, Forster traveled to Belfast to unveil it. His 1912 novel Following Darkness [and Kindle] is said to be an inspiration for Joyce's 1924 A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. In 1944 he won the James Tait prize for his sixteenth book of fiction and the climax of his Tom Barber trilogy, Young Tom. Praised in his lifetime for his explorations of boyhood a la Barrie and Walpole, Reid's work is forgotten today. Is it the gay factor or his flowery, sentimental style?