Interesting new scholarly thesis by Stephanie Brimson, “Seabury Quinn: a Weird Tales view of gender and sexuality”. Sadly the full-text is not available. This an example of a regrettable recent development among open access repositories, which publicise the thesis as if it were open access but in reality add an embargo of around 12 to 18 months. Anyway, Brimson suggests that…

… a unique male characterization was born in Seabury Quinn’s protagonist Jules de Grandin. Unlike other interwar characters, Quinn’s Jules de Grandin rejected the figure of American bodybuilder in favor of one that emphasized male effeminacy. The sexuality of these effeminate male characters was often unclear, and it is difficult to discern whether this was a serious attempt by Quinn to circulate literature with homosexual elements in the public sphere or just an attempt to lure readers with mentions of social taboos.”

As the “star” author of Weird Tales in Lovecraft’s time, could Quinn’s choice of a lead character — that apparently “emphasized male effeminacy” — have primed the Weird Tales audience for similar characters? Specifically, to more readily accept Lovecraft’s own presentation of his unmanly lead characters?

Or is Brimson just reading too much into the character? Difficult to say, since there’s no full-text for the thesis and I’ve not read the Jules de Grandin stories. Certainly the book Uranian worlds: a guide to alternative sexuality in science fiction, fantasy, and horror (1990) seems to have failed to have noticed this aspect of Jules de Grandin, although it did spot some overt lesbian themes in a late 1947 Jules de Grandin story.

jules_de_grandin_by_cowboy_lucasCowboy-Lucas‘s fan-intepretation of Jules de Grandin.