Panthology Two was published in December 1982 by The Coltsfoot Press, just acquired by Spartacus of Amsterdam for the publication of “stories about boy-love”. It is the second in a series of sixteen anthologies. The stories are by various authors, but all the volumes were edited by the American writer Frank Torey (1928-96). This article serves as both a synopsis and a review of the second volume’s content. The original list of contents is represented in brown.
Introduction [by the book’s editor]
It is almost exactly a year since we published our first boy-love book, PANTHOLOGY ONE. We then felt quite nervous about how it would be received, but we were impelled by one conviction: the boy-lover needed something for his less militant moments. Visual representations of boys were being progressively denied him; scrutiny by Big Brother was increasingly restricting even his most unerotic contacts with young people. But stories, tasteful, erotic stories, were still legal, and we determined to supply them to the best of our ability.
The response to PANTHOLOGY ONE was interesting. The British and American gay press, of course, totally ignored the book, and so, for the most part, did the boy-love periodicals. NAMBLA panned it; The Body Politic at least liked the cover.
The reaction of our readers, however, was quite different. Not only was the first printing sold out in a few months but we received hundreds of letters thanking us for the book – and hoping there would soon be a successor.
So this is it, PANTHOLOGY TWO, another collection of imaginative writing about men and boys loving one another. We make no claim to establishing a new “boy-love aesthetic”, although we would put up the work of Hakim beside the best erotic boy poetry written anywhere today. We do feel that the stories are honest, and hope that they please as well.
One new writer needs a bit of explanation. Louis Colantuono grew up with twin social liabilities: he was a boy-lover and he was severely dyslexic. Even by the time he was a young man he couldn’t really read and was able to write little more than his own name. He did have an ability to work with difficult boys, however, and established a household in California at last consisting of a wife, step-daughter and “family” of lover-boys. He became an independent long-distance trucker. How he brought together all these strands of an unusual life can be read in the longest story of this book, the auto-biographical Lonely Roamer and Foolish Child. Later cast into prison for his love with boys, Colantuono taught himself there to type (by covering all those confusing letters on the keys with adhesive tape) and – obviously – how to tell a tale. Colantuono is still in prison, yet his sense of optimism and his faith in the power of love remains undiminished.
It is with the same faith, and optimism in the ultimate realization by society that boy-love is a great good thing, that we face the next years of conflict.
Contents [list, synopsis and review]
As I have pointed out in a review of Panthology One, that book was published in a spirit of unusual optimism that Greek love was to gain understanding and acceptance, but this optimism was very quickly shown to be misplaced. Though this is only the second in a series of sixteen published over fifteen years of growing intolerance, the difference in outlook is already evident. The introduction to the first drew attention to:
the scientific studies of man/boy relations just getting under way in The Netherlands, the steady lowering in the age of consent for all consensual sexual acts in many countries, in the formation of man/boy love organizations which, although their rites of passage have hardly been untroubled, have won some notable victories, too, and in the increasing understanding of sex in general and intergenerational sex in particular by the police and other authorities in a few north European lands.
By contrast, the introduction to this volume published only a year later alludes only to unfavourable developments:
Visual representations of boys were being progressively denied [the boy-lover]; scrutiny by Big Brother was increasingly restricting even his most unerotic contacts with young people.
As is usual with the anthologies of this series, the content is very mixed in quality. Darling’s verses are a brilliant accomplishment by an erudite classical scholar, but can be compared with fiction even less than can the memoir of the American lorry-driver Colantuono, the importance of which rests on its rarity as a primary source for social history rather than on literary merit. Turning to the fictional stories that make up the rest of the volume, only two of the many boys portrayed really come to life: Dennis in the story of that name and Jeremy in Esser’s Summer Games. None of the others show any character development, admittedly difficult to accomplish in what are mostly very short stories. The best plot, however, is easily Keith Spence’s. Anton is light-hearted fun, the two stories by Edwards are amusing, those by Dukahz are fairly so, while Pitt and Bard’s are at least readable, which I could not claim to find Hakim to be.
6 The Stake / Alan Edward
A black comedy, in which Parker, a young Englishman, visits a vampire’s castle and is surprised to be received in more than one sense by the Count’s very pretty and experienced 13-year-old page. PDF.
16 Fishing / Ian Anderson
A man stumbles upon a boy of 12 trying to fish on his own and gives him a mutually rewarding lesson. PDF.
19 Dragons / Nathaniel Pitt
Amiable but rather contrived story of a karate student in Florida winning a beautiful blue belt of 13 in a rush by speaking up for him against a malevolent thug of 19. PDF.
30 Dennis / John Bishop
The owner of a hostelry catering to tourists with a certain special taste in an unspecified third-world country is wary when one of his guests falls naively in love with Dennis, a manipulative mid-teen charmer with very loose morals, but his cynicism is unexpectedly challenged. A convincing story, and one of the best in this volume. PDF.
41 Dragonfly and Other Texts / Hakim
Six scenes rather than stories, hard to digest, but possibly of philosophic interest. PDF.
54 Grown Up for Thirteen / Nathaniel Pitt
A short American dialogue between a man of 35 and a confident boy of 13, renting himself out despite being well-off. PDF.
57 Theban Patrol / K. I. Bard
An American boy scout of 13’s hardly dramatic account of the antics of the men and boys on his patrol’s trip to Canada, including a friend who makes money from sex with men. PDF.
68 High Doh / Alan Edward
A funny story about a new teacher at a choristers’ boarding-school in England misunderstanding the headmaster’s instruction to give strokes to each of the boys in the top-year dormitory. PDF.
71 Summer Games / Kevin Esser
Three well-told encounters between men and boys, the longest and best of them about a rich and arrogant tease of 15 who is not displeased to get much more than he bargained for from a man who gives him a lift home. PDF.
85 Lonely Roamer and Foolish Child / Louis A. Colantuono
The content of this memoir has already been summed up in the Introduction above. As with so many memoirs, there is a whiff of exaggeration in the cause of self-justification, but there is an equally unmistakeable whiff of authenticity, which makes it a fascinating illustration of the recurring phenomenon that certain indomitable individuals could for many years flourish and gain the acceptance of a limited social circle as pederasts in even the most hostile culture. PDF.
112 Verses in the Manner of Strato’s Musa Puerilis / J. Darling
Twenty epigrams very much in the claimed manner, capturing both the Greek poet’s sense of humour and his tastes. As a fellow student of Strato, I can only offer what I think is the highest praise, that they could easily have fooled me as being his. PDF.
117 Three by Dukahz / Casimir Dukahz
Stories about the witty American author and three boys, one mercenary, one a sleep-talker and the third unwilling, told with his trademark word-play, but not the brilliance at it of his first book, The Asbestos Diary. PDF.
124 Anton / Bill Underhill
A good-natured science fiction story, incidentally the most erotic in this volume, in which a writer visiting a video arcade picks up and beds a very forward boy of 13, who turns out to be an agent from a parallel universe with some very appealing cultural differences. PDF.
139 The Unexpected Legacy of Uncle Edward / Keith Spence
37-year-old William, a computer software entrepreneur, has given no thought in his adult life to either boys or love when he unexpectedly inherits the Cambridgeshire home of an unappealing uncle. However, when an attractive twelve-year-old pupil of his uncle drops in, happy memories of his schooldays are stirred as well as suspicions about uncle’s private life. The longest story in this volume with some amusing twists in its well-developed plot. PDF.
Contributed by Edmund Marlowe, April 2021.