The Picture of Dorian Gray & Cecil Dreeme - Classic Gay Novels
The Picture of Dorian Gray – The novel tells of a young man named Dorian Gray, the subject of a painting by artist Basil Hallward. Dorian is selected for his remarkable physical beauty, and Basil becomes strongly infatuated with Dorian, believing that his beauty is responsible for a new mode of art. The Picture of Dorian Gray is considered one of the last works of classic gothic horror fiction with a strong Faustian theme. It deals with the artistic movement of the decadents, and homosexuality, both of which caused some controversy when the book was first published. However, in modern times, the book has been referred to as "one of the modern classics of Western literature.
Cecil Dreeme – Robert Byng has recently returned from his Grand Tour of Europe to settle in New York City. An old friend lends Byng his rooms at Chrysalis College (an equivalent of real-life New York University, perhaps also partially modelled on the Tenth Street Studio Building). It is there that Byng meets his mysterious and reclusive neighbor Cecil Dreeme, and the two strike up a romantic friendship. However, Byng is also tempted by the villainous Densdeth, who seems to want the protagonist to fall into a life of unspecified sin and debauchery. Published posthumously by the author's friend George William Curtis in 1861, Cecil Dreeme has been called "one of the queerest American novels of the nineteenth century" by scholar Peter Coviello, and it addresses themes of gender and sexuality.