CONTACT: MELVIN O. SHAW
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0010; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: May 17, 1999
New book says Bible commissioner King James was likely
IOWA CITY- Was King James, the commissioner of the
Bible that bears his name, homoerotic? One scholarly researcher from Kansas
thinks so and in writing "Homoerotic Desire-The King James Version,"
published by the University of Iowa Press, has used original Sixteenth Century
letters to shed light on the much talked about question.
David Bergon, a University of Kansas English professor,
craftily argues in "Homoerotic Desire," that James correspondence
with certain men in his court is evidence of James homoerotic desire.
Commentators have condemned these letters as indecent or repulsive but Bergon
writes that the letters convey an inward desire of the king and subject in
mutual exchange of love. The new book provides rare insights into the private
life of one of Englands most important monarchs.
Bergon outlines that King James corresponded with
three principal male favorites during his reign: Esmé Stuart of Lennox,
Robert Carr of Somerset and George Villiers of Buckingham. Bergon writes that
the large collection of letters exchanged between James and Buckingham in
the 1620s provides the clearest evidence for James homoerotic desires.
During a protracted separation in 1623, letters between the two raced back
and forth. The letters explore themes of absence, the pleasure of writing
and a preoccupation with the body.
Bergon, a University of Kansas English professor,
has published numerous books and articles on Shakespeare, Renaissance drama,
civic pageantry and the Stuart royal family, including "Royal Family,
Royal Lovers: King James of England and Scotland."
"King James and Letters of Homoerotic Desire"
(260 pages, $24.95 cloth) is available in bookstores or can be ordered from
the UI Press by calling 1-800-621-2736.