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Novel: Forman Brown aka Richard Meekers Better Angel
An audio recording of Better Angel, by Richard Meeker ie Forman Brown . Via the Internet Archive. A nice addition to your audio player. Nicely read by Greg W.
In 1933 Forman Brown published the novel called Better Angel. It being 1933 it was controversial story matter and as such published under the pseudonym Richard Meeker. The protagonists story being of a young man coming to terms with him being gay though gay back then meant jolly… It’s quiet contemporary.
The author is not well known this side of the Atlantic, maybe due to the small volume of books written. Wonder if writing Better Angel and trying to get it published influenced him in this respect. Is there any doubt. Unlike E.M Forster. Instead he appears to have absconded to the bright lights, to, for of it’s day must of been a bastion of freedom compared to the alternative, Hollywood, U.S.A. Brown tried his hand successfully at song writing, puppetry and adult back when adult meant grown up, revues. In contrast Forster first started writing Maurice in 1915, then basically hid the novel except from some close friends, continued writing many straight novels in a similar style, until after his passing and Maurice was published in 1971.
Forman Brown, Harry Burnett and Richard Brandon were Yale puppeteers, and the founders in 1941 of the tiny Turnabout Theatre in Hollywood, California which ran until 1956. He passed away in 1996 (though I’ve also seen 1993 attributed) leaving his long term boyfriend Richard Brandon. It’s a fascinating story, the real life one. Friends of the the Turnabout Theatre included stars of the silver screen and others such as Albert Einstein. The Los Angeles Library have a wonderful archive on the Turnabout set. Been part of a set seems to have been the thing in the day, am thinking of the other similar even parallel set, less whimsical (?), the Bloomsbury set.
The book is regarded as one of the first American novels to present the gay experience in a healthy light. The good ole days. I only came across Better Angel in 2015!
Better Angel reads like an autobiography much like parts of E.M Forster’s Maurice, which years later it was confirmed to be. The narrative begins with Kurt Gray as a kid and his home/ school life, an only child, which I can’t imagine and growing up in what sounded like a town somewhere in mid America
The University of Florida have a pdf of the book: http://ufdcimages.uflib.ufl.edu/UF/00/07/57/11/00001/UF00075711.pdf
Want to read a book for LibriVox? They’re looking for folks.
For further information, including links to online text, reader information, RSS feeds, CD cover or other formats (if available), please go to the LibriVox catalog page for this recording. Would love to get a hard copy of this…
Wonderfully the Los Angeles have an online archive of the Turnabout Theatre see http://dbase1.lapl.org/turnabout/