chapter  14
5 Pages

Clarkson Crane, the Western Shore

There is a pervasive quality of homosexuality in The Western Shore (Harcourt, 1925). It seems always just under the surface, begging the reader for recognition, and occasionally breaking through. There is only one obvious gay character here, but there are two or three others who might well be labeled as such-if not at this point in their lives then at least a little later. A San Francisco setting, a fraternity initiation, fun and games among male students around an outdoor swimming pool, young men sleeping three to a room, a young male college professor who finds a bed in his home for a younger male student-these are just a few of the areas touched upon by The Western Shore. Noted University of California scholar and administrator Lawrence Clark Powell wrote that The Western Shore “was one of the first and remains the best novels about university life in Berkeley.” He might also have added that it is proof that Berkeley was as lively in the 1920s as it was in the 1960s, and that modern readers might well ask what type of activity was nurtured at Berkeley all those years ago.