chapter  26
6 Pages

Charles Jackson, the Fall of Valor

Charles Jackson (1903-1968) is best known as the author of The Lost Weekend (1945), his first novel, which was filmed by director Billy Wilder in 1945 with Ray Milland as the central character, Don Birnam. The novel, which is too well known to belong here, documents the five-day binge of an alcoholic, and is obviously semiautobiographical. What is missing from the screen version is the strong implication that Don Birnam is a latent homosexual, whose alcoholism directly relates to his inability to accept his sexual identity. This is emphasized in The Lost Weekend when, at one point, a gay orderly in the alcoholic ward, Bim, whispers that he “knows” Don.