Ah, the world of gay literature. From the musing of Oscar Wilde to the rousing words of James Baldwin here are the top gay authors according to fans on Ranker.

10. Marcel Proust

Marcel Proust vers 1895.jpg
By <a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/en:Otto_Wegener” class=”extiw” title=”w:en:Otto Wegener”><span title=”Swedish photographer”>Otto Wegener</span></a> – <a href=”//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Marcel_Proust_1900.jpg” class=”mw-redirect” title=”File:Marcel Proust 1900.jpg”>Marcel_Proust_1900.jpg</a>, Public Domain, Link

Proust wrote In Search Of Lost Time, Swann In Love and Le Temps Retrouve. He was a French novelist, and essayist and was considered to be one of the most influential authors of the 20th Century. He was born in July 1871 and passed away in November 1922 at the relatively young age of 51.

Although biographers of Proust have often spoken about his sexuality, the writer himself never actually came out – even having a public sword fight with fellow writer Jean Lorrain after Lorrain questioned Proust’s relationship with Lucien Daudet (thought to be Proust’s lover). Both Lorrain and Proust survived the duel.

A few years before his death in 1918 Proust was one of the men identified by police in a raid on a male brothel run by Albert Le Cuziat.

9. Virginia Woolf

Photograph of Virginia Woolf in 1902; photograph by George Charles Beresford
By See file page for creator info., Public Domain, Link

Woolf was an English writer who is considered one of the most important modernist voices of the 20th Century. She was a pioneering novelist whose books include, To The Lighthouse, A Room Of One’s Own and Mrs Dalloway. London born Woolf was 59 when she died in 1941. She was troubled with mental health issues throughout her life. She was hospitalised numerous times during her life and attempted to take her own life at least twice before drowning herself in the River Ouse at Lewes.

8. Emily Dickinson

Photograph of Emily Dickinson, seated, at the age of 16
By Unknown author – <a rel=”nofollow” class=”external free” href=”https://s3.amazonaws.com/amherst-wsg/ED-dag-case-720dpi_big.jpg”>https://s3.amazonaws.com/amherst-wsg/ED-dag-case-720dpi_big.jpg</a>, Public Domain, Link

Emily Dickinson was an American poet who lived between 1830 and 1886. During her time she wrote,  The complete poems, Acts of Light: The World of Emily Dickinson, New poems of Emily Dickinson, and The letters, Letters of Emily Dickinson. She apparently wrote over 1800 poems during her lifetime.

According to Wikipedia, “Evidence suggests that Dickinson lived much of her life in isolation. Considered an eccentric by locals, she developed a penchant for white clothing and was known for her reluctance to greet guests or, later in life, to even leave her bedroom. Dickinson never married, and most friendships between her and others depended entirely upon correspondence.”

7. William S. Burroughs

Burroughs in the 1980s
By Chuck Patch – Cropped version of <a href=”//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Burroughs1983.jpg” title=”File:Burroughs1983.jpg”>Image:Burroughs1983.jpg</a>, which originally posted to <a rel=”nofollow” class=”external text” href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/65484951@N00/91976954″>Flickr</a>, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Burroughs was an American writer and visual artist. He was born in St Louis Missouri in 1914. He died in August 1997. His works include Cities of the Red Night and Nova Police. Burroughs had a controversial life having killed his second wife Joan Vollmer with a pistol. At first he claimed it was an accident after an attempted “William Tell” stunt. Later he told investigators that he dropped the gun and it fired a shot that killed his wife.

Burroughs also suffered from drug addiction during his life and was once expelled from his school for taking chloral hydrate with a fellow student.

6. James Baldwin

Baldwin in 1969
By <a href=”//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Allan_warren” title=”User:Allan warren”>Allan warren</a> – <span class=”int-own-work” lang=”en”>Own work</span>, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Baldwin’s most famous works include Go Tell It on the Mountain, Another Country, and Notes of a Native Son. He was a famed playwright, novelist and black rights activist. According to Wikipedia, Baldwin’s works had themes of masculinity, sexuality, race, and class intertwine to create intricate narratives that run parallel with some of the major political movements toward social change in mid-twentieth-century America, such as the civil rights movement and the gay liberation movement. On December 1, 1987, Baldwin died from stomach cancer in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France. He was buried at the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, near New York City. He was 63 when he died.

5. Walt Whitman

Whitman in 1887
By <a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_C._Cox” class=”extiw” title=”en:George C. Cox”>George C. Cox</a> (1851–1903, photo) <a href=”//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Adam_Cuerden” title=”User:Adam Cuerden”>Adam Cuerden</a> (1979-, restoration) – This image is available from the United States <a href=”//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Congress” title=”Library of Congress”>Library of Congress</a>’s <a rel=”nofollow” class=”external text” href=”//www.loc.gov/rr/print/”>Prints and Photographs division</a> under the digital ID <a rel=”nofollow” class=”external text” href=”http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.07549″>ppmsca.07549</a>. This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See <a href=”//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Licensing” title=”Commons:Licensing”>Commons:Licensing</a> for more information., Public Domain, Link

Whitman was born in 1819 and his famous works include Leaves of Grass, Drum Tap and Song of Myself. He passed away in 1892. His work was controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass, which was described as obscene for its overt sensuality. Whitman’s own life came under scrutiny for his presumed homosexuality. His poetry often focused on both loss and healing. Two of his most well-known poems, “O Captain! My Captain!” and “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d”, were written after the death of Abraham Lincoln.

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He was also a bit of a naturist and liked to be naked!

In Manly Health and Training, using the pseudonym Mose Velsor, he advised men to swim naked. In A Sun-bathed Nakedness, he wrote,

Never before did I get so close to Nature; never before did she come so close to me … Nature was naked, and I was also … Sweet, sane, still Nakedness in Nature! – ah if poor, sick, prurient humanity in cities might really know you once more! Is not nakedness indecent? No, not inherently. It is your thought, your sophistication, your fear, your respectability, that is indecent. There come moods when these clothes of ours are not only too irksome to wear, but are themselves indecent.

Tennessee Williams

Tennessee Williams NYWTS.jpg
By Orlando Fernandez, World Telegram staff photographer – Library of Congress. New York World-Telegram &amp; Sun Collection. <a rel=”nofollow” class=”external free” href=”http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c28957″>http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c28957</a>, Public Domain, Link

Best known for his works, Sweet Bird of Youth, The Rose Tattoo and Camino Real Williams lived from 1911 to 1983. Willaims was a playwright and considered among the three foremost playwrights of 20th-century American drama. After years of obscurity, at age 33 he became suddenly famous with the success of The Glass Menagerie (1944) in New York City. It was the first of a string of successes, including A Streetcar Named Desire (1947) Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955), Sweet Bird of Youth (1959), and The Night of the Iguana (1961).

3. Arthur Rimbaud

Rimbaud at 17 by Étienne Carjat [1]
By <a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/en:%C3%89tienne_Carjat” class=”extiw” title=”w:en:Étienne Carjat”><span title=”French artist (1828-1906)”>Étienne Carjat</span></a> – Close-up from <a rel=”nofollow” class=”external text” href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/10381539@N03/3379297668″>Arthur Rimbaud [1872] – foto de Étienne Carjat</a>, Public Domain, Link

Rimbaud was a French poet who lived between 1854 and 1891.

Arthur Rimbaud was born in Marseille, France in 1854. He died from cancer just after his 37th birthday. Rimbaud was described as a restless soul who travelled on three continents before he died.

In 1951 many years after his death the French Postal Service issued stamps featuring Rimbaud and his lover Paul Verlaine.

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Rimbaud met Verlaine in the summer of 1870 when he was 16. A friend of Verlaine was less than impressed and described him as, “a tall, gawky young man, very thin, with the look of a rather fierce street Arab”, however, Verlaine was so taken with the younger wayward man, he deserted his wife and child and ran away to London. It didn’t go well for the two. Their relationship ended in Brussels and during an argument, Verlaine shot Rimbaud in the arm. Rimbaud, however, did not press charges.

2. E.M. Forster

Portrait of Forster by Dora Carrington, c. 1924–1925
By Dora Carrington (1893–1932) – <a rel=”nofollow” class=”external free” href=”http://www.todayinliterature.com/biography/e.m.forster.asp”>http://www.todayinliterature.com/biography/e.m.forster.asp</a>,, Public Domain, Link

Forster was an Engish novelist, short story writer, essayist and librettist who lived between 1879 and 1970. His famous works include A Room with a View, A Passage to India and Howards End.

According to Wikipedia, Forster was open about his homosexuality to close friends, but not to the public. He never married but had a number of male lovers during his adult life. He developed long-term relations with Bob Buckingham (1904–1975), a married policeman.

1. Oscar Wilde

Photograph by Napoleon Sarony, c. 1882
By <a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/en:Napoleon_Sarony” class=”extiw” title=”w:en:Napoleon Sarony”><span title=”American artist”>Martin van Meytes</span></a> – Library of Congress, Public Domain, Link

Wilde was an Irish poet and playwright. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of the most popular playwrights in London in the early 1890s. He is best remembered for his epigrams and plays, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the circumstances of his criminal conviction for gross indecency for consensual homosexual acts in “one of the first celebrity trials”, imprisonment, and early death from meningitis at age 46. Oscar Wilde was born at 21 Westland Row, Dublin (now home of the Oscar Wilde Centre, Trinity College), the second of three children born to an Anglo-Irish couple: Jane, née Elgee and Sir William Wilde.

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