Nationwide - 10/10/2020 — Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalization of Love explores state-sponsored censorship and violations of personal freedoms through the inspiring, forgotten story of one writer’s refusal to stay silenced.
At a time with government control over personal freedoms is at a heightened level, authoritarianism is on the rise in America, and a looming conservative deadlock on the U.S. Supreme Court, the potential loss of hard-earned LGBTQ+ rights has caused ripples of alarm.
Which helps explain the soaring interest in Dr. Naomi Wolf’s latest book, Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalization of Love, days before its long-awaited release in the U.S.
Dr. Wolf has been featured on prominent LGBTQ+ forums like Queerwords podcast, Queerforty and Lesbian.com, and will be the featured speaker at a virtual seminar with the Stonewall Museum and Archives on Nov. 5.
Public attention is also spiked in the relevance of the threat to LTGBQ+ right, as evidenced by post engagements on Dr. Wolf’s facebook page are up 855 percent in the last week among her more than 125,000 followers. She interviewed Prof Paul Johnson, of theUniversity of York, about Boris Johnson’s plans to weaken the Human Rights Act, which currently protects LGBTQ people and others from discrimination in the UK.
Outrages captures the story little known Victorian-era poet John Addington Symonds, who was subject to draconian laws in the U.K. against homosexuality. Symonds, along with authors such as Walt Whitman and others of the period, showed courage and conviction in calling out the oppressiveness and hypocrisy of the state.
“Naomi Wolf’s Outrages is a vitally important book to publish right now, not just because of its literary scholarship, which is superb, but because it speaks so clearly to the present societal moment,” said Margo Baldwin, President and Publisher, Chelsea Green Publishing. “It’s a moment that is incredibly dangerous, a potential turning point when marginalized people and groups are targeted, silenced and often jailed. It’s a time when information counter to the official narrative is censored and erased from the public sphere, when books and articles and even scientific research are banned and labeled as ‘fake news’ or ‘dangerous misinformation.’”
Drawing on the work of a range of scholars of censorship and of LGBTQ+ legal history, Wolf depicts how state censorship, and state prosecution of same-sex sexuality, played out—decades before the infamous trial of Oscar Wilde—shadowing the lives of people who risked in ever-changing, targeted ways scrutiny by the criminal justice system. She shows how legal persecutions of writers, and of men who loved men, affected Symonds and his contemporaries; all the while, Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass was illicitly crossing the Atlantic and finding its way into the hands of readers who revelled in the American poet’s celebration of freedom, democracy, and unfettered love.
“Outrages is about one gay man, but it’s also about what happens when the secular state gets the power to enter your bedroom,” states Dr. Wolf.
Inspired by Whitman, Symonds kept trying, stubbornly, to find a way to express his message—that love and sex between men were not “morbid” and deviant, but natural and even ennobling. He wrote a strikingly honest secret memoir written in code to embed hidden messages—which he embargoed for a generation after his death—and wrote the essay “A Problem in Modern Ethics,” that was secretly shared in his lifetime and is now rightfully understood as one of the first gay rights manifestos in the English language.
Symonds, an incredible profile in courage, offers insights for today as we struggle to cope with rising authoritarianism, censorship, and continued attacks on the LGBTQ+ community.
CONTACT: To request a review copy or author interview, please contact:
Christina Butt (802) 295-6300 ext. 127, or firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Naomi Wolf’s most recent books include the New York Times best sellers Vagina, Give Me Liberty, and The End of America, as well as the landmark bestseller The Beauty Myth. Wolf completed a doctorate in English Language and Literature from the University of Oxford in 2015, and has taught at The George Washington University and Sony Brook University. Learn more at DrNaomiWolf.com
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