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Publication date: October 2011.
Bound by Aeschylus, translated by Thomas Medwin &
Percy Bysshe Shelley + Prometheus
Unbound by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Edited and with Foreword
by John Lauritsen. 211 pages. Trade paperback. $16 ISBN
978-0-943742-19-9. Pagan Press 2011.
This book contains two
major works. The first is the Aeschylus play, Prometheus
Bound, masterfully translated by Percy Bysshe Shelley and
his cousin, Thomas Medwin. The second is Shelley's own poem, Prometheus
Unbound, which is considered his masterpiece. This book
also includes an appreciation of Prometheus Unbound by John Addington
Symonds, and the poem Prometheus, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, newly
translated from the German.
Editor John Lauritsen demonstrates, through biographical and textual
evidence, that Shelley was the chief author of the Prometheus
translation, which is a masterpiece in its own right. Shelley worked on
it for years, engrossed by the theme of rebellion against tyranny
— dominant in the Aeschylus play and the poems by Goethe and
Comparisons between the Medwin-Shelley translation of Prometheus
Bound and Shelley's own Prometheus
Unbound show Shelley's amazing versatility at
versification; he was the master of more verse forms than any other
poet in English. Above all, they display Shelley's gift for dialogue,
which he elsewhere demonstrated in his translations from Plato and
Goethe; his play, The
Cenci; and his novels.
The unjustly forgotten Medwin-Shelley translation is still unequalled
for dramatic power and poetry. It is one of the few translations that
could effectively be put on the stage.
NEW BOOK. Publication
date: August 2011.
Medwin-Shelley Translation. Aeschylus, translated by Percy Bysshe
Shelley & Thomas Medwin. Edited and with Foreword by John
Lauritsen. 192 pages. Trade paperback. $14 ISBN
978-0-943742-16-8. Pagan Press 2011.
The Aeschylus plays that make up the Oresteia trilogy —
Agamemnon, Choëphori (Libation Bearers), and Eumenides (the
Kindly Ones) — are among the supreme masterpieces of world
literature. This book is the first publication for over 170 years of a
forgotten masterpiece of translation, done by Percy Bysshe Shelley, one
of our greatest poets, and his friend and cousin, Thomas Medwin.
When published separately in the 1830s, under Medwin's byline, the
translations were critically acclaimed as “by far the
best” into English, having “fire, spirit, and
general correctness.” But they were not reprinted, and are
now known to few, if any, students of English literature.
Editor John Lauritsen demonstrates, through both biographical and
textual evidence, that Shelley must be acknowledged as a full
collaborator in the Oresteia translation. Shelley was an
extraordinarily gifted translator, rivaled only, if at all, by Pope and
Dryden. He was not concerned with slavishly literal, word-for-word
translation, but with re-creating the full and entire sense —
the energy, wit, irony and pathos — of the original. Shelley
was the master of more verse forms than any other poet in English: this
translation contains intricate verse forms of his own devising, as well
as traditional sonnets, Spenserian stanzas, and odes.
Shelley's hand is as unmistakable in the dialogue as in the verse
passages, for he was a master of dialogue, as shown in his translations
from Plato and Goethe, his plays, novels, and verse dramas. While
maintaining an Aeschylean formality, the language is idiomatic, and the
lines can effectively be spoken. Given actors and an audience
accustomed to Shakespeare, Oresteia: The Medwin-Shelley Translation
could successfully be put on the stage.
The Medwin-Shelley translation is still unequalled for dramatic power
The Man Who Wrote
By John Lauritsen. 232
pages. Illustrations, bibliography, and appendices. Trade Paperback:
$16.95 ISBN 978-0-943742-14-4. Also available in a
Library Binding (Smythe sewn, case binding): $24.95 ISBN
978-0-943742-15-1. Pagan Press 2007.
Frankenstein is the
most famous work of English Romanticism. Victor Frankenstein and the
monster he created have entered our collective imagination —
through movies, comic books, T-shirts, Halloween masks, etc. They have
entered the discourse of erudite scholars, as well as the man on the
belief is that Frankenstein was written by a teenaged girl, Mary Godwin
(later Mary Shelley), who took part in a ghost-story contest in Geneva,
had a nightmare, and was inspired to write a story “which
would frighten my reader as I myself had been frightened that
John Lauritsen's new
book, The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein, explodes the Mary Shelley myth,
demonstrating that Frankenstein
is not just a scary story, but a work
of profound and radical ideas, written by one of the greatest poets in
English, who deliberately concealed his authorship. The book
has three theses:
Frankenstein is a great work, which has consistently been underrated
author of Frankenstein is Percy Bysshe Shelley.
• Male love
is a central theme of Frankenstein.
Lauritsen, male love, as romantic friendship, is a central theme of
Frankenstein. Sometimes the expressions of male love are remarkably
direct, but at other times they are expressed in coded language or
references known only to the “initiated”. He uses
his skills as a gay historian to decode and interpret these references.
The Man Who Wrote
Frankenstein has nine appendices, which include full texts of the
Bysshe Shelley's Preface to Frankenstein.
review of Frankenstein.
Introduction to the bowdlerized 1831 edition of Frankenstein
— which was written, at least in part, by William Godwin.
• The 1824
Knights Quarterly review of Valperga.
Garnett's essay on Mary Shelley from the Dictionary of National
There is also an
For Camille Paglia's
Salon.com review click here.
For Jim Herrick's
review in Gay Humanist Quarterly click here.
For Richard Labonte's
“Bookmarks” review click here.
For Tom Elliott's
Mensa Bulletin review click here.
For Jesse Monteagudo's
review in the South Florida Express click here.
For Hubert Kennedy's
review in The Guide click here.
For Ian Young's review
in Torso click here.
For Andrew Calimach's
review click here.
Sadownick's review in Gay & Lesbian Review click here.
To visit The
Frankenstein Pages, devoted to illustrations and essays on
Frankenstein, click here.
The Banquet. By Plato,
translated by Percy Bysshe Shelley. 96 pages. $8 Trade Paperback. ISBN
0-943742-12-9. Pagan Press 2001.
Witty, sexy and
radiantly beautiful, the Shelley translation of Plato's great Dialogue
on Eros, The Banquet (or The Symposium) is by far the best in English.
It has been described as conveying “much of the vivid life,
the grace of movement, and the luminous beauty of Plato”
— “the poetry of a philosopher rendered by the
prose of a poet”.
Although a masterpiece
in its own right, the translation was suppressed and then bowdlerized
for well over a century. In 19th century England, male love —
at the heart of the dialogue — was unmentionable. The Banquet
and Shelley's accompanying essay, “A Discourse on the Manners
of the Antient Greeks”, were not published in their entirely
until 1931, and then in an edition of 100 copies intended
“for private circulation only”.
For many years, the
Shelley translation has been unobtainable, new or used. Pagan Press now
offers a new edition, which is complete and authentic. It is the most
readable edition even published.
For William A. Percy's
review in the Gay & Lesbian Review click here.
For Jim Herrick's
review in New Humanist click here.
A Freethinker's Primer
of Male Love.
By John Lauritsen. 96
pages. $6.95. Trade Paperback. ISBN 0-943742-11-0
Pagan Press 1998.
The main essay in this
book, “A Freethinker's Primer of Male Love”, is a
celebration and defence of male love from a secular humanist
perspective. Its leading thesis: Male love is good; the opprobrium
suffered by gay men is a product of Judeo-Christian superstition.
A companion essay,
“Paradigms For Gay Liberation”, recounts the ideas
that have informed the movement. The author analyzes how the
present-day movement has lost its bearings, and he indicates a way out
of the thicket.
There are eight
Excursus: Male Beauty, The Golden Legend, Gay Christian Revisionism,
Pluralistic Ignorance, Freethought, Circumcision of the Spirit, The
Aster Epigrams of Plato, and A Pagan Prayer. An annotated Bibliography
provides guidance for further reading.
For Jack Nichols'
review in Gay Today click here.
For William A. Percy's
review in Journal of Homosexuality click here.
For Ian Young's review
in Torso click here.
The AIDS Cult: Essays
on the gay health crisis. Edited by John Lauritsen * Ian Young. 224
pages. Photographs and appendices. $15 Trade Paperback. ISBN
0-943742-10-2 Asklepios 1997.
Published in February
1997 under the Asklepios imprint (for health-related books), this is
the first book to deal comprehensively with the real reasons gay men
are becoming sick in ways that are called “AIDS”.
The editors, John
Lauritsen and Ian Young, and the other six contributors to The AIDS
Cult, examine psychological and cultural issues — the ways
religious intolerance, group fantasies, toxic drugs, pharmaceutical
propaganda, deadly counselling, and a Cult of Doom have acted together
to destroy the health of gay men. In his Introduction Ian
Young writes: “The orthodox view of our protracted health
crisis — as a highly infectious contagion from without
— has been found wanting.... We must seek the causes of this
and other medical dilemmas in our own society, our own assumptions, our
group-fantasies, our regimens, our recreations, and our
For Mark K. Anderson's
review in the Valley Advocate click here.
For Elizabeth Ely's
review in Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients click here.
For Alex Russell's
review in Continuum Magazine click here.
For Henry H. Bauer's
review in Journal of Scientific Exploration click here.
Poindexter's review in 4Front has been deleted. For an explanation
The AIDS War:
Propaganda, Profiteering and Genocide from the Medical-Industrial
Complex. By John Lauritsen. 480 pages. Photographs, graphs, and other
illustrations. Name and subject indices. $20 Trade Paperback.
ISBN 0-943742-08-0 Asklepios 1993.
The AIDS War is a
collection of John Lauritsen's major writings on AIDS, going back to
February 1985. Book and author have been featured on Tony Brown's
Journal, radio talk shows, and American, Canadian, British, Australian
and German television.
There are 35 chapters,
• The first
interview with molecular biologist Peter Duesberg.
“Latex Lunacy” (latex gloves, condoms, etc.).
“Poppers: The End of an Era” — a history
of the premier gay drug (nitrite inhalants).
“The Risk-AIDS Hypothesis” — the real
reasons gay men, intravenous drug users, and others are getting sick.
comprehensive program of recovery for those with a diagnosis of
“The AIDS War: Lies and Censorship in AIDS
“FDA Documents Show Fraud in AZT Trials”.
“AIDS Criticism in Europe”.
“The Incidence Quagmire”.
“AIDS Organizations” — the real story.
“The Death of Rudolf Nureyev” — from AZT
For Mike Chapelle's
review in Bloomsbury Review click here.
DeCenzo's review in the Cornell Review click here.
For Jule Klotter's
review in the Townsend Letter for Doctors click here.
For Henry H. Bauer's
review in Virginia Scholar click here.
For Jerry Terranova's
review in Praxis click here.
The following titles
are out-of-print: Ioläus by Edward Carpenter; Male Love: A
Problem in Greek Ethics and Other Writings by John Addington Symonds;
Death Rush: Poppers & AIDS by John Lauritsen; Poison By
Prescription: The AZT Story by John Lauritsen. (The last two books are
available online: just click on the titles.)
Books can be ordered directly from
Pagan Press using PayPal. Just send an e-mail to Pagan Press
mentioning the books you wish to buy. We will then send you back an
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For United States
orders postage is free. For overseas air mail, postage will be ₤ 8.5 or € 10 for The AIDS War;
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Frankenstein, or The AIDS Cult; or ₤ 3.50 or € 4.20 for A Freethinker's Primer or The
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