Letter to Commonweal regarding Norman Cantor's article

From William A. Percy
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November 25, 1992

15 Dutch Street
New York, New York 10038

To the Editors:

Norman Cantor's article was one of the most exciting and informative that you have ever published. As a gay I was fascinated to learn how creative converted Jews were during the Renais-sance and during the movement known as modernism. Closeted gays also participated disproportionately in ending the medieval Catholic culture which had fostered the Inquisition and the bourgeois society of the nineteenth century which in Protestant countries still decreed death to sodomites and snubbed Jews. If Cantor could presume that Columbus and others were Jewish, in spite of the considerable controversy raging around their ancestry, we gays might claim Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Erasmus and perhaps even Machiavelli and Montaigne. Again amongst those who undermined and transformed Victorian prudery, we claim Wilde, Keynes, Strachey, Wittgenstein, Housman, Owen, Sassoon, Bowra, Henry James, Proust, Gide, Stefan George, Thomas Mann, Lor-ca, Cavafy, and Mikhail Kuzmin. As an institution of liberal Catholicism you have given their due to the Jews in Cantor's scintillating article, but what articles have you done lately to give any credit to us gays—still denounced as we are by Cardinal Ratzinger and the Holy Office?

With best wishes, I am
Yours sincerely,

William A. Percy
Professor of History,
University of Massachusetts/Boston

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