Thomas Eakins, our greatest painter, was living in disgrace in Philadelphia after he was fired from the art school where he taught for allowing an undraped male model to pose for a mixed class of men and women students. Walt Whitman was strenuously denying his homosexuality after writing the Calamus poems, the best gay verse in the language. Mark Twain was underestimated by his fans; Henry James was largely ignored by his countrymen and preferred to live in England (he even became a British Citizen). America was, alas, a country of great eccentrics and great prudes, of great writers and few readers.

-Edmund White, The Unpunished Vice

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