The issue of rereading Pedro Salinas’s work cannot be a discursive operation inspiring the desire of “outing” an insider. As far as is known, no specific documentation or evidence of (un)veiled homosexuality could be attributed to him and presented as a proof to validate a reading focusing a gay sensibility as such. On the contrary, what seems possible to achieve is a way of reading Salinas’s poetry, narrative, and theater beyond the parameters of compulsory heterosexuality imposed on him by most of his critics. Many of the poems in Salinas’s famous erotic poetry included in La voz a ti debida (1933) and Razón de amor (1936) reveal the avoidance of gendered pronouns. Though some critics have pointed out the ambiguity or, rather, the flotation of the meaning, they promptly refer to other poems in which the “yo” (I) speaks of or to a woman. What seems to be problematic is not only the consistency of this woman (always defined as a double and even as a proxy), but the sexual identity of the “I” when it is not read as a representative of Salinas himself. Salinas, who was born in Madrid, but exiled in the United States, seems to favor more the concept of gender as drag (mask, shadows of shadows), that is, as a subject position, than the essentialist perspective of sexual identity. An alternative reading appears when we pay attention simultaneously to the distinctive poetic procedure that opposes a mundane woman to an abstract, phallic, or conceptual one. This insistent homoerotic triangle can also be easily discovered in many stories in El desnudo implacable y otras narraciones (1951) and in many plays. Salinas’s work has been unexplored from the perspective of sexual dissidence. His works include Seix Barral (1975), Teatro completa (1957), Narrativa completa (1976), and Ensayos completos (1981). The one work available in translation is Prelude to Pleasure (Véspera de gozo, trans. Noel Valis, 1993). Gustavo Geirola
Debicki, Andrew P. Pedro Salinas , Madrid: Taurus, 1976. See also Spanish Literature
In his 1994 book Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe, John Boswell recounts his discovery of medieval liturgy for the priestly blessing of same-sex couples in church ceremonies. The liturgy is found in many collections of prayers from the eighth to at least the twelfth century in both the Western and Eastern Orthodox traditions. Boswell interprets the ceremonies as weddings and the couples’ relationships as marriages. But the content of the prayers is thin and the known social context for the ceremonies nearly
nonexistent. Other scholars have interpreted the ceremonies not as marriages but as blood-brother rites, aimed at sealing dynastic alliances or ending blood feuds, and have viewed the commitments that the ceremonies bless as more a matter of politics and economics than of intimacy and love.