The List

The Queer Male Canon Project includes significant novels that prominently feature men who explicitly express sexual desire toward other men. Since I am focusing on queer male identity, I judge a work’s significance based upon how thoroughly it addresses male queerness. I also consider the quality of the novel. Obviously, this is a subjective list.

This canon only includes novels. It does not include plays, dialogues, short stories, poetry, non-fiction, young adult fiction, graphic novels, erotica, or pornography. Because of these parameters, and a long history of homophobia, it should not be surprising that the list only begins in the nineteenth century.

CLICK on links below.

Queer Male Novels of the Nineteenth Century

Year in Arcadia: A Shepherd’s Calendar, Augustus, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (1805)

Moby Dick, Herman Melville (1851)

Joseph and His Friend: A Story of Pennsylvania, Bayard Taylor (1870)

Billy Budd, Herman Melville (1888 (written), 1924 (published))

A Marriage Below Zero, Alan Dale (1889)

The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde (1890)

Queer Male Novels of the Early Twentieth Century

Imre: A Memorandum, Edward Prime-Stevenson (1906)

Maurice, E.M. Forster (1914, published 1971)

Queer Male Novels of the 1920s

In Search of Lost Time (Cities of the Plain/Sodom and Gomorrah), Marcel Proust (1921/22)

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)

The White Book, Jean Cocteau (1928)

Queer Male Novels of the 1930s

Better Angel, Forman Brown (1933)

Goodbye to Berlin, Christopher Isherwood (1939)

Queer Male Novels of the 1940s

Reflections in a Golden Eye, Carson McCullers (1941)

Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh (1944-45)

The Folded Leaf, William Maxwell (1945)

The City and the Pillar, Gore Vidal (1948)

Other Voices, Other Rooms, Truman Capote (1948)

The Sheltering Sky, Paul Bowles (1949)

Confessions of a Mask, Yukio Mishima (1949)

Queer Male Novels of the 1950s

Forbidden Colors, Yukio Mishima (1951)

Memoirs of Hadrian, Marguerite Yourcenar (1951)

Hemlock and After, Angus Wilson (1952)

The Charioteer, Mary Renault (1953)

The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith (1955)

Chocolates for Breakfast, Pamela Moore (1956)

Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin (1956)

The Last of the Wine, Mary Renault (1956)

We Think the World of You, J. R. Ackerley (1956)

A Room in Chelsea Square, Michael Nelson (1958)

Advise and Consent, Allen Drury (1959)

Malcolm, James Purdy (1959)

Queer Male Novels of the 1960s

Another Country, James Baldwin (1962)

City of Night, John Rechy (1963)

A Single Man, Christopher Isherwood (1964)

Midnight Cowboy, James Leo Herlihy (1965)

A Queer Kind of Death, George Baxt (1966)

Fire from Heaven, Mary Renault (1969)

Queer Male Novels of the 1970s

A Fairly Honorable Defeat, Iris Murdoch (1970)

Fadeout, Joseph Hansen (1970)

The Lord Won’t Mind, Gordon Merrick (1970)

The Ogre, Michel Tournier (1970)

The Throne of Saturn, Allen Drury (1971)

The Wild Boys, William S. Burroughs (1971)

The Persian Boy, Mary Renault (1972)

Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon (1973)

The Front Runner, Patricia Neil Warren (1974)

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, John Le Carre (1974)

The Carnivorous Lamb, Augustin Gomerz-Arcos (1975)

Ernesto, Umberto Saba (1975)

Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice (1976)

Kiss of the Spider Woman, Manuel Puig (1976)

Falconer, John Cheever (1977)

Dancer from the Dance, Andrew Holleran (1978)

Splendora, Edward Swift (1978)

Tales of the City, Armistead Maupin (1978)

City of God: A Novel of the Borgias, Cecelia Holland (1979)

On Wings of Song, Thomas Disch (1979)

The Twyborn Affair, Patrick White (1979)

Queer Male Novels of the 1980s

The Confessions of Danny Slocum, George Whitmore (1980)

The Boy Who Picked the Bullets Up, Charles Nelson (1981)

The Hotel New Hampshire, John Irving (1981)

A Boy’s Own Story, Edmund White (1982)

Mr. Benson, John Preston (1983)

The Vampire Lestat, Anne Rice (1985)

Ethan of Athos, Lois McMaster Bujold (1986)

The Lost Language of Cranes, David Leavitt (1986)

Over the Edge, Jonathan Kellerman (1987)

The Rules of Attraction, Bret Easton Ellis (1987)

The Beautiful Room is Empty, Edmund White (1988)

The Swimming Pool Library, Alan Hollinghurst (1988)

Queer Male Novels of the 1990s

A Home at the End of the World, Michael Cunningham (1990)

Invisible Life, E. Lynn Harris (1991)

A Scandal in Belgravia, Robert Barnard (1991)

The Secret History, Donna Tartt (1992)

Was, Geoff Ryman (1992)

The Folding Star, Alan Hollinghurst (1994)

Our Lady of the Assassins, Fernando Vallejo (1994)

Boy Culture, Matthew Rettenmund (1995)

Just As I Am, E. Lynn Harris (1995)

Now and Then, William Corlett (1995)

Wonder Boys, Michael Chabon (1995)

The Beauty of Men, Andrew Holleran (1996)

Hallucinating Foucalt, Patricia Duncker (1996)

The Story of the Night, Colm Toibin (1996)

Enduring Love, Ian McEwan (1997)

The Farewell Symphony, Edmund White (1997)

The Men from the Boys, William J. Mann (1997)

If This World Were Mine, E. Lynn Harris (1998)

Kiss of the Fur Queen, Tomson Highway (1998)

The Spell, Alan Hollinghurst (1998)

The Hours, Michael Cunningham (1998)

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon (1988)

Abide With Me, E. Lynn Harris (1999)

The Blackwater Lightship, Colm Toibin (1999)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky (1999)

Queer Male Novels of the 2000s

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon (2000)

At Swim, Two Boys, Jamie O’Neill (2001)

Any Way the Wind Blows, E. Lynn Harris (2001)

Edinburgh, Alexander Chee (2001)

Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami (2002)

Where the Boys Are, William J. Mann (2003)

The Line of Beauty, Alan Hollinghurst (2004)

The Master, Colm Toibin (2004)

Carnival, Elizabeth Bear (2006)

Call Me By Your Name, Andre Aciman (2007)

Men Who Love Men, William J. Mann (2007)

The Slap, Christos Tsiolkas (2008)

Artush and Zaur, Ali Akbar (2009)

1Q84, Haruki Murakami (2009-2010)

Queer Male Novels of the 2010s

We the Animals, Justin Torres (2011)

Woes of the True Policeman, Roberto Bolano (2011)

Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders, Samuel R. Delany (2012)

The End of Eddy, Édouard Louis (2014)

A Little Life, Hana Yanagihara (2016)

Guapa, Saleem Haddad (2016)

Less, Andrew Sean Greer (2017)

Lie With Me, Philippe Besson (2017)

The Sparsholt Affair, Alan Hollinghurst (2018)

Leading Men, Christopher Castellani (2018)

The Great Believers, Rebecca Makkai (2018)

Red, White & Royal Blue, Casey McQuiston (2019)

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, Ocean Vuong (2019)