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The Italian Invert


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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Prologue, by Cyrille Zola-Place
Foreword to the French Edition, by Alain Pages
Foreword to the American Edition, by Vernon A. Rosario
Introduction: The Menage-a-Trois of Zola, Saint-Paul, and the Italian "Invert," by Michael Rosenfeld with Nancy Erber
Part I: The Confessions of a Homosexual to Emile Zola
Preface by Emile Zola
The Novel of an Invert
The Sequel to the Novel of an Invert
Other Particularities
The Italian Man's Family Tree, by Michael Rosenfeld
Part II: Selected Works by Dr. Georges Saint-Paul
Dr. Georges Saint-Paul, Man of Science, by Clive Thomson
First Edition (1896)
In Memoriam: Emile Zola
Second Edition (1910)
Third Edition (1930)
List of Contributors

About the Author

Michael Rosenfeld holds two doctorates, one in French literature and civilization from the Universite Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3 and one in French language and literature from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium.

William A. Peniston is the librarian and archivist emeritus at the Newark Museum of Art, as well as a historian of France. His books include Pederasts and Others: Urban Culture and Sexual Identity in Nineteenth-Century Paris (2004).

Nancy Erber is professor emerita of modern languages and literature at the City University of New York. With Peniston, she edited and translated Queer Lives: Men's Autobiographies from Nineteenth-Century France (2007).


A brilliant archival discovery, a triumph of careful scholarship, an unsuspected episode in modern literature, a moving testimony about sex and love, and a fascinating, previously censored chapter in the history of sexuality. Rosenfeld masterfully restores the context in which conscious writing about homosexuality emerged in Europe during the last decades of the nineteenth century. -- David Halperin, W. H. Auden Distinguished University Professor, University of Michigan
The contributors to this brilliantly edited and translated text make the queer past come alive. Readers will not only recognize a young man's struggle with his gender and sexual identities, but also the difficulty he had in telling his own story in a homophobic society. -- Andrew Israel Ross, author of Public City/Public Sex: Homosexuality, Prostitution, and Urban Culture in Nineteenth-Century Paris
Whether you persist in reading it as a proto-naturalist novel (despite the opinions of the editors of this volume) or treat it as a sociological document, The Italian Invert is a classic text of nineteenth-century sexology the interest of which is by no means limited to French (or Italian) studies. Richly enhanced here with critical notes, this volume makes a revised and expanded version of the primary documents available in English and also adds important essays that situate and enlarge their scope. The text reflects the latest archival discoveries, which include manuscripts and illustrations, as well as new information about the mysterious "Dr. Laupts." Whether one is interested in the history of (homo)sexuality or in literary questions (such as the "queerness" of Zola), this is an indispensable tool that belongs on every researcher's shelf. -- Melanie Hawthorne, Texas A&M University

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