Jesse: Man of the Streets by Carl Corley (1968)
Corley is a Mississippi author/illustrator who may be unknown to many people.
He wrote and illustrated over 22 gay pulp books in the 1960s and 1970s. Gay
pulp books are books that were printed inexpensively on poor quality paper
that feature homosexual themes. Corley also produced images for physique magazines
in the 1950s and 1960s.
Carl Corley was born
in 1921 in Florence, Mississippi. He spent much of his life working for the
Mississippi Department of Highways and the Louisiana Department of Transportation
and Development in the art units. Corley used his life in Mississippi and
Louisiana as backdrops for virtually all of his books. His work is particularly
fascinating because of his focus on homosexual life in a rural environment,
which was uncommon at the time.
Corley wanted to
be taken seriously as a writer and an illustrator. In a time when gay pulp
novels were written by people using pen names, Corley signed all of his books
and illustrations except for one. The publisher of The Different and the
Damned required that the book be published anonymously because he worked
for a state government.
Jesse: Man of the Streets is the story of a Native American, bisexual
hustler from Mississippi living in Baton Rouge. This book is particularly
interesting because the first person narrator is a female which Corley only
uses in one other book. The cover of Jesse: Man of the Streets is illustrated
The novels of Carl
Corley provide an important glimpse into the author's experiences and perceptions
of being gay and living in rural Mississippi and Louisiana. McCain
Library & Archives owns 14 books by Carl Corley. If you are interested
in viewing these items, visit the 3rd floor of McCain Library & Archives or contact Jennifer
Brannock at firstname.lastname@example.org
additional information on Carl Corley, see
John. Men Like That: A Southern Queer History. University of Chicago
Press: Chicago, 1999. (Cook and McCain Libraries HQ76.3.U52 M74 2001)
Text by Jennifer Brannock, Special Collections Librarian