“A Most Lascivious Picture of Impatient Desire”

Daniel Hurewitz

in Bohemian Los Angeles

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780520249257
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520941694 | DOI:
“A Most Lascivious Picture of Impatient Desire”

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As Julian Eltinge settled into Edendale and the new phase of his career in the 1910s, he quickly found himself at the center of flurry of activity. Movie-making was a busy business. It was estimated that during this period, film industries in and around Los Angeles were already spending more than thirty million dollars a year. It was Eltinge’s specialty to play challenging roles. This chapter discusses the quest for identity, and focuses on the relationship between sexual desire and identity, particularly gender identity. It seeks to answer whether gendered behavior is an expression of sexual desire—that is, whether men who dress as women in fact desire other men. These concerns are reflections of the questions that began to circulate in Eltinge’s Los Angeles. However, dthe 1910s, ’20s, and early ’30s lacked a single governing paradigm for explaining sexual desire and sexual behavior. Instead, multiple paradigms prevailed; Eltinge’s offered no answers. For a time, that did not matter. Hollywood was still happy to put Eltinge on screen as a female impersonator. However, the demand for authenticity and interest in desire intensified. In part, the fairy paradigm gained wider popularity. While audiences laughed at male effeminacy, they began to believe that the hidden truth of male effeminacy was homosexuality.

Keywords: Julian Eltinge; identity; sexual desire; sexual behavior; male effeminacy; homosexuality

Chapter.  14463 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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