Category:Geraci, Joseph

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Joseph Geraci, an American writer living in the Netherlands, earned his place in the Pantheon of sexual scholarship as the editor, and one of the founders, of Paidika: The Journal of Paedophilia. He also edited Dares To Speak: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Boy-Love, a book that drew together and extended selected aspects of Paidika's work. He is the author of four novels and is also a dealer in archives, books, and vintage photographs.

Geraci developed the idea of launching a scholarly journal about pedophilia after moving to Amsterdam in 1986, and he succeeded in bringing out the first issue in the following year.

Paidika sought "to examine the range of cultural, historical, psychological, and literary issues pertaining to consensual adult-child sexual relationships and desires" and attempted to create a "history of record". Its nearly 30-strong editorial board included such scholars as, from America, historian Vern Bullough, psychologist John DeCecco, and editor of the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality Wayne Dynes; and, from Europe, jurist Edward Brongersma, psychologist Frits Bernard, sociologist Gert Hekma, social psychologist Theo Sandfort and Marjan Sax, political scientist and feminist.

In both appearance and contents, which were peer-reviewed, Geraci's creation was an academic journal of a quality fit to grace any university library. Twelve issues appeared from 1987 to 1995.

Sadly, to a great extent Geraci's fine achievement proved to be as pearls cast before swine. Paidika was often attacked as a "pedophile magazine", thereby undermining the credibility of the research published by the journal.

Soon after Paidika's demise Geraci edited a book, Dares to speak: Historical and contemporary Perspectives on Boy-love (Gay Men's Press, 1997), which included articles from the journal. This work included an extensive annotated literature guide written in part by Geraci himself. It was a wide-ranging endeavour, with separate sections on Autobiography, Biography, Art, Childhood, History, Literary criticism, Novels, Plays, Poetry, Short stories, Sexuality studies and Social studies.

The strong literary flavour to the review reflected Geraci's own interests. His four novels are all suffused with boy-love themes, but the concerns of the later ones, especially, go much wider.

The first, Loving Sander, appeared in 1997, and is about an American photography scholar working in Holland and the 10-year-old son of colleagues there. Prof. Hubert Kennedy described it as "a moving story of a special love". This was followed in 2001 by Marrying Tom. Two boys in a small American community, aged 16 and 13, belong to rival gangs but are drawn together.

In The Deaf-Mute Boy (2006), Geraci expands his boy-love theme to include an engagement with wider social issues. This tale finds an American archaeologist drawn into a maze of Tunisian politics, culture, and religion. It became the University of Wisconsin Press entry for the PEN/Faulkner Award 2007. Peter Lamborn Wilson (Hakim Bey) said the novel "is a devastatingly accurate portrayal of the reality behind the modern tourism facade" of Tunisia.

The Path of the Gods (2009) takes the reader back to 5th century BC Athens. While Ancient Greece is literally the classic setting for boy-love literature, the theme of a youth's friendship with Socrates is here a vehicle for discussing fate and religion. Why did the gods ordain — if they did — the great philosopher's execution?

Geraci has also published essays about the orientalist photography studios working in North Africa between 1850-1920.

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