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Emilio Williams is a bilingual (Spanish/English) award-winning writer and educator. His critically acclaimed plays have been produced in Argentina, Estonia, France, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. He holds a BA in Film and Video and an MFA in Writing. He is a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists where he is also a faculty member. He divides his time between Chicago and Paris.

His experimental prose has appeared most recently in Brevity Magazine, Writing Disorder, Hinterland Magazine, Imagined Theatres, and the anthology Beyond Queer Words 2021. Emilio Williams has lectured around the world, and taught at several US universities, including DePaul University, Columbia College Chicago, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Georgia State University. He has been a guest artist at the University of Portland, Mary Washington University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Who are you? To size you up during a first meeting, a New Yorker or a Londoner will ask what you do for a living. Somebody from New Jersey will ask, “What exit?,” in reference to the highway sign that should determine your place in the world. In Chicago, the question is: “What neighborhood?” In St. Louis: “What high school?” In Boston: “What parish?” And in Atlanta and Los Angeles, you’ll be asked: “What do you drive?” The Parisian version of this game: “What arrondissement?”

The name game. Humans seem to love pigeonholing strangers. Gender, race, perceived sexual orientation, class, educational level, country of origin, or all of the above; high-level categories that people use to classify each other and ourselves, as if we could write field-guides to humans. Everything and everyone needs a name, I guess, but what I’m talking about now is the conscious and unconscious biases a category solicits in me. I must face it; my cataloguing is often a form of lazy thinking. 

The arrondissement. If you know the 7th arrondissement, Le Septième, your perception of this very large district of Paris, on the west side of the Left Bank, may fall somewhere between posh or crusty; chic or pretentious; clean or aseptic; traditional or touristy; right-wing leaning, or expat-infested; almost always on the boring side of the spectrum. All arrondissements have a clear brand. Brands help determine who is in and who is out, who belongs and who doesn’t.

The bed. I knew my partner R. had a pied-à-terre in Paris, but it was many years into our relationship before we finally came together. It’s up on the mansard floor of a small building on a street named rue de la Comète. The first time I sat on his bed and looked at the Eiffel Tower outside the window, it dawned on me: “This is not a pied-à-terre! This is a garçonnière!” “What?” R. asked me from the bathroom. “I was just saying that there is no need for you to ever come back to Paris alone.”

The view. From R.’s bedroom window the view seems to be borrowed from the set of a Vincente Minnelli movie, a wild westbound landscape of mansards, tin roofs, and chimney pots culminating in a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower: a view that is both perfect and an absolute cliché. When I take a photo, it looks like he placed a cheap poster of Paris over the window to try to pull a trompe-l’œil, or as if I had cut and pasted it from a magazine, using Photoshop: the site is a simulacrum of itself.

Unavoidable Paris. I grew up in Spain and moved to the United States at twenty-two. Those were my homes, but Paris was always the third wheel in my life. My first boyfriend was (and still is) Parisian. My best friend in high school was also French. My first trip with friends was to Paris. My first honeymoon: Paris. My first secret escapade with a lover: Paris! My sentimental education percolated through the idea (or an ideal?) of Paris. My pantheon, too: Atget, Baldwin, Cocteau, Genet, Moreau, Nin, Signoret… 

Paris is a “he.” Paris is often referred to in the feminine. Breton didn’t help by projecting his vaginal cravings into the shape of the Place Dauphine. In several romance languages the word for “city” is feminine; “la ville” or “la cité” in French, “la ciudad” in Spanish, and “la città” in Italian. For me Paris is male. Named after Prince Paris, who kidnapped Helen, causing the bloodiest war in mythical antiquity, the Trojan War, no less.

Stalking Paris. One doesn’t wake up one day thinking: “What the world really needs right now is another foreigner writing about Paris!” The first morning I woke up in his apartment, I looked out the window, and shook R. up. “Hey, wake up, wake up! The Eiffel Tower is still there!” How did I put myself in this impossible predicament? You can’t tame a city. You can’t force yourself on him. It’s a courtship and no matter how much you love a city, you will only be a tourist until the city loves you back. 

  • 1 A controversy exists about which publication should get the credit for being the first homosexual j (...)

1 rue Bougainville. From R.’s apartment, I walk for eight minutes to a side street near the Invalides. It’s a hard to date, small, concrete building. A business school occupies the space now. I bet nobody in there knows that this corner site was the administrative and editorial office for a publication that started in November of 1924: Inversions, the first periodical in the history of France exclusively dedicated to homosexual content for a homosexual readership.1

  • 2 In French: “Nous voulons crier aux invertis qu’ils sont des êtres normaux et sains, qu’ils ont le d (...)

Healthy beings. Rue Bougainville is home to Gaston-Ernest Lestrade, a 24-year-old postal worker. He produces Inversions with his friend Gustave Beyria, 27. In the first issue they scream from the roof: “We want to shout out to inverts that they are normal and healthy beings, that they have the right to live their lives fully, that they do not owe anything to a morality created by heterosexuals, and they don’t have to normalize their ideas or feelings, to suppress their desires, or to overcome their passions.”2

Friendship. Lestrade shared his home with his lover Adolphe Zahnd, a 22-year-old upholsterer. Nobody seems to remember the working-class origins of this quartier, Gros Caillou. As soon as Inversions saw the light, censorship came knocking. The journal published four issues. They changed the name to something more coded, less on your face: L’Amitié. Under this more discreet name the magazine lasted for only one more issue. The utopian enterprise was shut down forever.

  • 3 In French: “La 12e chambre correctionnelle avait à juger samedi MM. Beyria et Lestrade, gérant et a (...)
  • 4 Beyria and Lestrade appealed against this judgment and, on October 27, 1926, the penalty was reduce (...)
  • 5 In French: “Propagande anticonceptionnelle,” “Quelle plaisanterie !” (Willy 97)

A doomed review. L’Homme libre, Paris, March 22, 1926: “The 12th correctional chamber had to judge on Saturday Mr. Beyria and Mr. Lestrade, manager and author of a review whose object, contrary to good morals, had to be prosecuted. The review was entitled ‘Inversions’.”3 The accused were both sentenced to six months in prison without suspension and a 200-franc fine.4 The judge called the magazine: “Anticonception Propaganda.” The writer Willy responded: “What a joke!”5

Missing and found. It must have been during my early teens. In literature class, the teacher was lecturing on poems by Federico García Lorca. The guy next to me whispered: “He was a maricón!” I rolled my eyes in incredulity. “Come on!” Until then, I have never known of somebody who actually was, you know, that thing. For the first time, I realized the concept was much more complicated than a playground insult. I knew I could also be one. Lorca was and we talk of him in class! Out loud?

The only gay in the village? I’m furiously researching the queer ghosts of the 7th because any day now a man wearing a beige raincoat, fedora, and pilot sunglasses is going to ring the bell, force himself into R.’s apartment and say: “OK, enough of this bullshit! Get back to where you belong, kiddo, wherever that may be! Out!” And I’ll say, trying to hide my Spanish origin with a fake French accent: “No, please, wait, wait, you see, monsieur, I’m queering le Septième!” “But why????” “Because of the missing!!!” 

44 rue du Bac. In 1926, American photographer Berenice Abbott opened her own studio in the 7th. After affairs with Thelma Wood and Tylia Perlmutter, and working as an assistant for Man Ray, she was ready to go solo emotionally and creatively. She had developed an artist crush on a “beautiful old man,” the mysterious father of street photography Eugène Atget. In 1927, Atget came to this study to pose for Abbott. By the time she visited him to deliver the portraits, he was dead. He was seventy. 

Atget, tour operator. From the late 1880s to his death, Atget documented the disappearing “Old Paris” in thousands of images. The early surrealists loved and championed Atget for his haunting photographs, many of them missing the human body, all of them showing the uncanny vision of an empty Paris. In the library of the École des Beaux-Arts, I discover an album with over a hundred rarely before seen photographs by Atget, all of the 7th arrondissement. I gasp.

Le Faubourg. In the seventeenth century many aristocrats fled the Marais and Île Saint-Louis to build their extravagant palaces in what were at the time the agricultural suburbs of the city. In the eighteenth century, the most important intellectual brains and the most creative souls of the Age of Enlightenment flocked to the famous salons housed here. Many of the buildings are today public ministries and embassies, so after dawn this old part of Paris becomes a deserted ghost town.

101 rue de Grenelle. Among the photos Atget took of the Faubourg Saint-Germain, there is a series dedicated to the Hôtel de Rothelin-Charolais: a baroque fireplace that hasn’t been used for centuries, an empty dining room table with chairs out of place, a deserted garden: the decadence and the end of the Ancien Régime in all its glorious phantasmagoria. When you walk at night in the old streets of the Faubourg, or when you look at a picture by Atget, all you can hear is the echo of your own steps. 

Eugène Atget, “Hôtel de Rothelin-Charolais, 7ème arrondissement, Paris,” 1908. 21.5 cm x 17.8 cm, Musée Carnavalet, Histoire de Paris. www.parismuseescollections.paris.fr/fr/musee-carnavalet/oeuvres/hotel-de-rothelin-hotel-de-charolais-hotel-conti-grand-hotel-d-argenson-3#infos-principales. Accessed 1 August 2023.

  • 6 For one of several surviving portraits of Mlle de Charolais in drag, see Natoire.

Hôtel de Rothelin-Charolais. The palace that so fascinated Atget is where Mlle de Charolais lived and died. She was the granddaughter of Louis XIV and Montespan. She refused to marry or have children, and she received her lovers in drag, naked under a Franciscan monk habit. A costume, not only kinkier, but also much easier to peel off. Mlle de Charolais, becomes my next ghost. I’m collecting the ghosts of sexual dissidents who lived around here. I think she definitively qualifies.6

  • 7 For an account of the transformations of the 7th arrondissement in Paris which includes this photo, (...)

Gros Caillou. The Esplanade des Invalides separates the aristocratic Faubourg from the quartier of Gros Caillou, where R.’s place is. It looks a bit like the Disneyland of Paris, but it was at one point a lively area, known for its craftsman workshops and affordable markets. Between 1843 and 1905, the Gros Caillou tobacco factory was the soul of the neighborhood. It occupied two and a half hectares. Atget documented its demolition in 1909: an imposing archway and, behind, the wreckage of time.7

Eugène Atget, “Ancienne manufacture des tabacs, dite manufacture du gros caillou, 7ème arrondissement, Paris,” 1909. 21.9 cm x 17.8 cm. Musée Carnavalet, Histoire de Paris. www.parismuseescollections.paris.fr/en/node/106244#infos-principales. Accessed 1 August 2023.

The scene of the crimes. Walter Benjamin famously said that Atget’s photographs were like crime scenes: “A crime scene, too, is deserted; it is photographed for the purpose of establishing evidence” (27). Queer sites, of all types, have been criminalized. Now, the bureaucracy of the perpetrator has become a treasure trove for researchers trying to find historical queer sites: the secrets of our past are laid out in court records, in police archives, and in the ledgers documenting arrests for public indecency.

Gentle character. Benvenuto Ballardini was a 49-year neighbor of Gros Caillou. He was a man of “medium height” and “gentle character.” He worked as a horse groomer at a carriage company, the turn of the century predecessor to the modern taxis. Ballardini lived in a mansard room, in a building one block east from R.’s. He ate every day in a restaurant on 16 rue Surcouf, one block west from us. He probably had to use our street, rue de la Comète, to go back and forth (“Un crime rue de Grenelle”).

151 rue de Grenelle. This building from 1898 is now a local attraction designed by the art nouveau architect Jules Lavirotte, better known for the oversexualized building on 29 avenue Rapp. Lavirotte facades are a cabinet of curiosities. This one has two doorknobs, one is a lizard, another one is a lizard eating a corn cob. This building came to replace the one where Ballardini lived for more than two years, until 1895. One morning that May, the concierge found him, in his mansard, brutally murdered.

  • 8 In French: “Un crime ayant un caractère passionnel particulièrement répugnant” (“Nouvelles diverses (...)
  • 9 In French: “Le quartier du Gros-Caillou est sous le coup d’une profonde émotion à la suite d’un cri (...)

“A crime with a particularly disgusting passion.”8 “The Gros-Caillou district is shaken by deep emotion following a horrible crime which took place on rue de Grenelle and whose motives are so repugnant that it is almost impossible to tell them. It involved two disciples of the love advocated by Oscar Wilde. After a terrible struggle, one of them was strangled by his companion in a fit of furious jealousy and stabbed with thirty wounds.”9

  • 10 For an archive of crimes in early twentieth-century Paris and a mention of this murder, see Parry 6 (...)

The room. It had clearly been the scene of a brutal fight. I’m looking at a photo of the aftermath probably taken by Alphonse Bertillon, the controversial father of forensic pathology. A commode is on the floor and blood stains everywhere. In the mess, it’s difficult to recognize the dead body, but it is there, on the floor, covered in blood. It is a corpse crouching like a hunted lion. In the official archival photo it reads: “Murder of Ballardini, Benvenuto by Mas, Louis Antoine. (Pederasty).”10 

188 rue de l’Université. Between the wars, once a year, for mid-lent, there was a costume party at the Grand Ballroom of Magic City, a now erased, but at the time gigantic amusement park next to the Pont de l’Alma. This tradition created a rare opportunity for sexual and gender dissidents to act-up both their fantasies and their true selves, in the open and en masse. Thousands of people gathered in these parties, the largest concentration of queer bodies in Paris until the pride parades of the 1990s.

  • 11 In French: “Ils étaient tous là : les frégates et les corvettes, les minets et les tantes, grands a (...)

Squeals of delight. Brassaï took a series of iconic photos of the 1933 ball. He published them in 1976 and remembered: “And every type came, faggots, cruisers, chickens, old queens, famous antique dealers and young butcher boys, hairdressers and elevator boys, well-known dress designers and drag queens […]. They embraced, they showered each other with compliments, they admired and kissed. They camped and teased each other with squeals of delight. An immense, warm, impulsive fraternity.”11

  • 12 In French: “Certains garçons étaient nus avec une série de grappes de raisins artificielles qui pen (...)
  • 13 In French: “L’un portait la veste, jambes et fesses nues; l’autre, le pantalon, torse et pied nus…” (...)

What to wear or not to wear. Big hats covered in fabric flowers; a lot of makeup and perfume; jewelry, never too much or too fake; wigs, feathers, and boas. But some former guests also remembered what a few didn’t wear: ‘Some boys were naked with a series of artificial bunches of grapes hanging around their waist.”12 Brassaï recalls two young men “dressed in a single suit: one was wearing the jacket, with his legs and buttocks naked; the other wore the pants, his torso and feet bare…”13

  • 14 Letter from Janet Flanner to Sylvia Beach (October 4, 1958, Princeton University Library) quoted in (...)
  • 15 In French: “les non conformistes” (Sprigge and Khim 79).

The more, the merrier. In the Fifties, Janet Flanner was still talking of the great times she had at the Magic City drag ball. In a letter to Sylvia Beach she remembers wearing a top hat borrowed from her barber, the night “Princess Violet Murat, dressed as a concierge, taught [her] to take snuff.”14 Cocteau and Raymond Radiguet, Mr. and Mrs. Étienne de Beaumont, René Crevel, as well as many other artists and patrons, joined the festivities. Valentine Hugo nicknamed them all “the nonconformist.”15

  • 16 In French: “ Pour répondre à certaines critiques […] auquel les hommes travestis en femmes ne seron (...)

The end of the party. The balls became so popular, the actor Jean Weber said thousands of guests were left outside because the ballroom was at capacity. As the popularity increased, so did the backlash. Protestors outside insulted and heckled the flamboyant parade of arrivals. By 1934 the police joined in the harassment. In 1935, a newspaper ad from the management of Magic City put an end to it all: “In response to certain complaints […] men cross-dressing as women will no longer be admitted.”16

Portrait. The New Yorker’s correspondent, Janet Flanner, showed up donning the top hat she wore at Magic City for her photo session with Abbott at rue du Bac. On top of the hat, two carnival masks, one white, one black, yin and yang. Flanner was only 35 but her already white hair peeks out of the hat in a short curl. Her right hand touches the side of her face, but this is not a thinker looking down, this is a thinker sustaining her equanimous black glance to the camera. A ring in the pinkie. Cufflinks. 

Documenting. Atget didn’t consider his photographs art. He thought of himself as a documentarist of a vanishing Paris. Documenting he did. And now, his photos are a compass to track the changes of this neighborhood. Abbott also documented. The portraits she took in Paris are now also a catalog of queer bodies, ghosts to search and find: Flanner, and also Djuna Barnes, Sylvia Beach, Jean Cocteau, André Gide, Eileen Gray, Jean Heap, Claude McKay, Violet Murat, Tylia Perlmutter, Solita Serrano…

  • 17 The list is printed in several publications, including Rapazzini 6-31.

Kiss and tell. The writer and salonnière Natalie Clifford Barney was at the center of a constellation of Left Bank women who had sex with other women. At the end of her life, Barney gave a friend a list with twenty-eight names of all the women she had bedded. The list is conveniently divided into three sections: relationships, affairs, and flings. The list correlates at times with the women who posed for Berenice Abbott, and several times, the list also matches former residents of the 7th.17

  • 18 The term “relationship” is extracted from the aforementioned list and is accounted for in Schenkar (...)

3 rue Montalembert. Dolly Wilde became famous in Paris for showing up to parties dressed as her uncle, Oscar Wilde. The Hôtel Montalembert was Dolly Wilde’s favorite site for long stays and binges. It was only a ten-minute walk to 9 rue de Las Cases, where one of her lovers, Marcelle Fauchier-Delavigne, lived with her husband and kids. Wilde had a tortured life affected by attempts to overcome her addictions and kill herself. Barney lists Wilde as a “relationship.”18

  • 19 The term “fling” is extracted from the aforementioned list and the encounter presented in Caws 213.

19 rue de Tourville. The renaissance woman Valentine de Saint-Point moved to a studio in this address in 1911. A year later she published her Manifesto of Futurist Woman in response to Marinetti: “Humanity is mediocre. The majority of women are neither superior nor inferior to the majority of men. They are all equal. They all merit the same scorn.” She advocated not to divide people into men and women, but into grades of masculinity and femininity. Barney considered her a “fling.”19

  • 20 The term “relationship” is extracted from the aforementioned list and Delarue-Mardrus’s art and lif (...)

17 quai Voltaire. The exuberant Lucie Delarue-Mardrus is in Barney’s list under “relationships.” She lived at this address between 1915 and 1936. She was a prolific writer of novels and travel books, but she wanted to be admired for her poetry. At one point, she was far ahead of her time. At another, she was left behind as passé. The thin line that separates a young promise from an old glory can be very cruel. I found some great photos of her taken in far-flung locales, often dressed as a man of the time.20

An American Opera. In the Twenties, Delarue-Mardrus had as neighbors the American composer Virgil Thompson and his life-partner, the painter Maurice Grosser. Thompson was the composer of Four Saints in Three Acts the avant-garde opera with a libretto by Gertrude Stein. It opened on Broadway in 1934 with an all-Black cast. Stein visited them often with Alice B. Toklas. Delarue-Mardrus shared many friends in the same constellation, including Gide, Flanner, and Solano.

Quai Voltaire. Somebody left the front door unlocked and I was able to sneak into 17 quai Voltaire. Not uncommonly, the building has a courtyard and a building behind. From there, one can see the back of Hôtel Voltaire, where Oscar Wilde spent an extended stay in 1883. This curious street is only 1,000 feet, facing the Seine. Both the dancer Rudolf Nureyev (at number 23) and the writer Henry de Montherlant (at number 15) spent their last, tragic years there. 

The banks of the Seine. I walk back home from quai Voltaire going down to the river. I think of Atget photographs from the days when these embankments were working docks. If during the day the boys play “hide and seek,” at night we play “seek and hide.” It must have been so easy to play those hunting games among the piles of timber! I walk to quai Branly, where Cyril Collard set one of the cruising scenes in his movie Les Nuits fauves. Let’s face it, any sidewalk in Paris is a potential queer site.

Eugène Atget, “Dépôt de bois, port des Invalides, 7ème arrondissement, Paris,” 1913. 17.7 cm x 22.2 cm. Musée Carnavalet, Histoire de Paris. https://www.parismuseescollections.paris.fr/​fr/​musee-carnavalet/​oeuvres/​depot-de-bois-port-des-invalides-7eme-arrondissement-paris#infos-principales. Accessed 1 August 2023

  • 21 In French: “je fais mon tour du monde” (White 350).

Furtive steps. Since time immemorial, men looking to meet other men have resorted to… walking. I asked J., a neighbor, if it was true that the Esplanade des Invalides used to be a popular cruising ground for gay men. “But, of course! And the Gare des Invalides, too.” The poet Édouard Roditi told Edmund White that he had once run into Genet cruising the restrooms at the Gare des Invalides, where tourists used to take the bus to the airport. “I’m doing a tour of the world,” Genet explained.21 

  • 22 In French: “Ce que je préfère, dans Tricks, ce sont les « préparatifs » : la déambulation, l’alerte (...)

Walking after midnight. In his introduction to Renaud Camus’s Tricks, Roland Barthes understood that the most interesting part of taking furtive steps is not the sex but “the preparation: the cruising, the alert, the signals, the approach, the conversation, the departure for the bedroom…”22 Edmund White, who documented his cruising in Paris, championed the practice: “some of my happiest moments have been spent making love to a stranger beside dark, swiftly moving water below a glowing city” (147).

Back to unreality. On the way back to rue de la Comète, coming from the Esplanade you face rue Saint-Dominique. Its corner with boulevard de la Tour-Maubourg is a famous site because Saint-Dominique makes a curve that lets you see the Eiffel Tower at the end of the street: the definition of picturesque. Russian and Chinese brides take their romantic photographs of Paris here. This is a reliable site for those Instagram moments that tourists hope to show off when they type “I’m in Paris.”

Rue Saint-Dominique. The street looks exactly the same, but also completely different if you compare the current site to old sepia photographs and postcards. It used to be a very crowded street, much noisier, I can tell. Some shops had their merchandise on the sidewalks and kids ran up and down the street playing fast games. The bar on the corner is now an Irish pub. It used to be a cafe where the neighbors could use the telephone and spend hours after work at the factory or their shops.

Old photographs. There is a trap in finding old photographs more authentic than their current spaces. As if an old photograph could always explain how things used to be. The main difference between the older Paris and today’s is the patina of respectability these centric neighborhoods have acquired. With cleanness came uniformity, that limited palette of off-white or beige buildings that some Parisians are so proud of. But if you look back, Gros Caillou never was, and never looked this prude.

Back home (?) I’m alone in R.’s apartment getting some writing done. To my dismay the Eiffel Tower is still there, outside the window. Around me the index cards accumulate, names of ghosts, addresses, leads and false ends, books and printouts, a tricky enterprise. Signoret cleverly said: “Nostalgia is not what it used to be.” I would like to be like Atget, making an album with all these index cards, and simply document, document. I’m not interested in nostalgia. But I don’t want to forget.

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Bibliographie

BARBETTE, Gilles, and Michel CARASSOU. Paris Gay 1925. Paris: Non Lieu, 2008.

BENJAMIN, Walter, Michael W. JENNINGS, Brigid DOHERTY, Thomas Y. LEVIN, Edmund JEPHCOTT, Rodney LIVINGSTONE, and Howard EILAND. The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility, and Other Writings on Media. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008.

BEYRIA, Gustave-Léon, and Gaston-Ernest LESTRADE. Inversions. Paris: 1924, n1. semgai.free.fr/doc_et_pdf/Inv_N_1.pdf. Accessed 3 October 2023.

BRASSAÏ, Gyula Halász. Le Paris Secret des Années 30. Paris: Gallimard, 1976. English translation by Richard Miller: The Secret Paris of the 30’s. New York: Pantheon Books, 1976.

CAMUS, Renaud. Tricks: 25 Ecounters. Translated from the French by Richard Howard. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1981.

CAWS, Mary Ann, ed. Manifesto: A Century of Isms. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2001. 

ENGELKING, Tama Lea. “‘L’Ange et les Pervers’: Lucie Delarue-Mardrus’ Ambivalent Poetic Identity”. Romance Quarterly, vol. 39, no. 4, 1992, p. 451-466.

JIMENO, Frédéric. Le 7e arrondissement : itinéraires d’histoire et d’architecture. Paris: Action artistique de la Ville de Paris, 2000.

“Le crime de Grenelle.” La Lanterne, May 16, 1895, p.2, gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k75058658/f2.item. Accessed 4 October 2023.

“Magic City.” Le Journal, March 28, 1935, p. 8, gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k76311700/f8.item. Accessed 3 October 2023.

MIRANDE, Lucien. “Les deux premières revues homosexuelles de langue française : Akademos (1909) et Inversions/L’Amitié (1924-1925)”. La Revue des revues, vol. 51, no. 1, 2014, p. 64-83.

NATOIRE, Charles-Joseph. Portrait de Louise-Anne de Bourbon, Mlle de Charolais. 1740-1760. Oil on canvas, 116 cm x 90 cm. Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon, Versailles. collections.louvre.fr/ark:/53355/cl010204193. Accessed 3 October 2023.

“Nouvelles diverses : Un crime rue de Grenelle.” Le Figaro, May 16, 1895, p. 2, gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k283277t/f2.item. Accessed 3 October 2023.

PARRY, Eugenia. Crime Album Stories: Paris 1886-1902. Zurich: Scalo Verlag Ac, 2000.

RAPAZZINI, Francesco. “Elisabeth De Gramont, Natalie Barney’s ‘Eternal Mate’.” South Central Review, vol. 22, no. 3, 2005, p. 6-31.

SCHENKAR, Joan. Truly Wilde: The Unsettling Story of Dolly Wilde, Oscar Wilde’s Unusual Niece. London: Virago, 2000.

SPRIGGE, Elizabeth, and Jean-Jaques KIHM. Jean Cocteau: The Man and the Mirror. New York: Coward-McCann, 1968.

“Tribunaux : Une revue condamnée.” L’Homme libre : journal quotidien du matin, March 22, 1926, p. 3, gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k75982483/f3.item. Accessed 3 October 2023

“Un crime rue de Grenelle.” Le Journal, May 16, 1898, p. 2, gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k76207336/f2.item. Accessed 3 October 2023.

WHITE, Edmund, Genet: A Biography. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1993.

WINEAPPLE, Brenda. Genet: A Biography of Janet Flanner. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992.

WILLY. Le 3e sexe. Paris: Bibliothèque GayKitschCamp, 2014.

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Notes

1 A controversy exists about which publication should get the credit for being the first homosexual journal in France: Akademos from 1909 or Inversions, created in 1924. Akademos was a journal of the arts, less explicitly political and not exclusively dedicated to homosexual themes. For a survey of both publications, see Mirande.

2 In French: “Nous voulons crier aux invertis qu’ils sont des êtres normaux et sains, qu’ils ont le droit de vivre pleinement leur vie, qu’ils ne doivent pas, à une morale qu’ont créée des hétérosexuels, de normaliser leurs impressions et leurs sensations, de réprimer leurs désirs, de vaincre leurs passions” (Beyria and Lestrade 3).

3 In French: “La 12e chambre correctionnelle avait à juger samedi MM. Beyria et Lestrade, gérant et auteur d’une revue dont l’objet, contraire aux bonnes mœurs, avait provoqué les poursuites du parquet. La revue était intitulée « Inversions ».” (“Tribunaux” 3).

4 Beyria and Lestrade appealed against this judgment and, on October 27, 1926, the penalty was reduced to 3 months’ imprisonment and a fine of 100 francs (Willy 97).

5 In French: “Propagande anticonceptionnelle,” “Quelle plaisanterie !” (Willy 97)

6 For one of several surviving portraits of Mlle de Charolais in drag, see Natoire.

7 For an account of the transformations of the 7th arrondissement in Paris which includes this photo, see Jimeno 138.

8 In French: “Un crime ayant un caractère passionnel particulièrement répugnant” (“Nouvelles diverses”).

9 In French: “Le quartier du Gros-Caillou est sous le coup d’une profonde émotion à la suite d’un crime horrible qui a eu lieu rue de Grenelle et dont les mobiles sont tellement répugnants qu’il est presque impossible de les raconter. Il s’agit de deux disciples de l’amour préconisé par Oscar Wilde. Après une lutte terrible, l’un d’eux a été étranglé par son compagnon dans un accès de jalousie furieuse et frappé de trente coups de couteau” (“Le crime de Grenelle”).

10 For an archive of crimes in early twentieth-century Paris and a mention of this murder, see Parry 67.

11 In French: “Ils étaient tous là : les frégates et les corvettes, les minets et les tantes, grands antiquaires et petits garçons bouchers, coiffeurs pour dames et lift-boys, modistes en renom et manœuvres spécialisés […]. On s’abordait, on se complimentait, on s’admirait, on s’embrassait. On minaudait, on jacassait avec force gloussements. Fraternisations chaleureuses, intempestives” (Brassaï 166).

12 In French: “Certains garçons étaient nus avec une série de grappes de raisins artificielles qui pendaient autour de la ceinture” (Barbette and Carassou 51).

13 In French: “L’un portait la veste, jambes et fesses nues; l’autre, le pantalon, torse et pied nus…” (Brassaï 166).

14 Letter from Janet Flanner to Sylvia Beach (October 4, 1958, Princeton University Library) quoted in Wineapple 82.

15 In French: “les non conformistes” (Sprigge and Khim 79).

16 In French: “ Pour répondre à certaines critiques […] auquel les hommes travestis en femmes ne seront pas admis” (“Magic City”).

17 The list is printed in several publications, including Rapazzini 6-31.

18 The term “relationship” is extracted from the aforementioned list and is accounted for in Schenkar 31, 144, 190.

19 The term “fling” is extracted from the aforementioned list and the encounter presented in Caws 213.

20 The term “relationship” is extracted from the aforementioned list and Delarue-Mardrus’s art and life discussed in Engelking 451-466.

21 In French: “je fais mon tour du monde” (White 350).

22 In French: “Ce que je préfère, dans Tricks, ce sont les « préparatifs » : la déambulation, l’alerte, les manèges, l’approche, la conversation, le départ vers la chambre…” (Camus 15).

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Table des illustrations

Crédits Eugène Atget, “Hôtel de Rothelin-Charolais, 7ème arrondissement, Paris,” 1908. 21.5 cm x 17.8 cm, Musée Carnavalet, Histoire de Paris. www.parismuseescollections.paris.fr/fr/musee-carnavalet/oeuvres/hotel-de-rothelin-hotel-de-charolais-hotel-conti-grand-hotel-d-argenson-3#infos-principales. Accessed 1 August 2023.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/transatlantica/docannexe/image/22191/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 23k
Crédits Eugène Atget, “Ancienne manufacture des tabacs, dite manufacture du gros caillou, 7ème arrondissement, Paris,” 1909. 21.9 cm x 17.8 cm. Musée Carnavalet, Histoire de Paris. www.parismuseescollections.paris.fr/en/node/106244#infos-principales. Accessed 1 August 2023.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/transatlantica/docannexe/image/22191/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 17k
Crédits Eugène Atget, “Dépôt de bois, port des Invalides, 7ème arrondissement, Paris,” 1913. 17.7 cm x 22.2 cm. Musée Carnavalet, Histoire de Paris. https://www.parismuseescollections.paris.fr/​fr/​musee-carnavalet/​oeuvres/​depot-de-bois-port-des-invalides-7eme-arrondissement-paris#infos-principales. Accessed 1 August 2023
URL http://journals.openedition.org/transatlantica/docannexe/image/22191/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 41k
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Emilio Williams, « Queering Le Septième »Transatlantica [En ligne], 2 | 2023, mis en ligne le 01 novembre 2023, consulté le 22 février 2024. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/transatlantica/22191 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/transatlantica.22191

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