Paul Varnell

From William A. Percy
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Paul Varnell, a garduate of Cornell University, has long been a leading columnist for The Windy City Time, the leading gay newspaper in Illinois. He is an "in your face" gay activist and rather frank about his own promiscuity, traits which like a common academic experience at Cornell, we share. He's definitely better looking and a few years younger than I am. In addition, we both share respect for Wayne Dynes' extraordinary erudition and insights. Introduced to him by Dynes I, like Dynes, had had the pleasure of discussing areas of mutual interest with Varnell until an incident occurred which has since interrupted our communication.

I was however disappointed when Varnell refused to review my rather vanilla Pederasty and Pedagogy in Archaic Greece (1996), claiming that his editor forbade him to do so, I presume, because the word pederasty appeared in the title. It was, however, published by the Illinois University Press, an arm of the leading public university in his own state. The book was moreover reviewed in more than thirty places including some of the most reputable scholarly journals. A professor at the University of Cambridge loved it, proclaiming that I was the first to go beyond Sir Kenneth Dover. Two years later Sir Kenneth, who had at first declinned to review it saying that he was too busy and that his interest had shifted to other areas came off his perch at St Andrews, where that dour Scotsman had retired from Oxford, to denounce it in the oldest and most prestigious classical journal in the world - a German periodical that sometimes publishes reviews in English. I had to surmaise there was either something wrong with Paul, or his editor or publisher.

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