Les Mouches fantastiques
Co-editorElsa Gidlow[1]
Co-editorRoswell George Mills[1]
Staff writers
  • Elsa Gidlow
  • Roswell George Mills
CategoriesLiterary magazine
Publisher
  • Elsa Gidlow
  • Roswell George Mills
[1]
Founder
  • Elsa Gidlow
  • Roswell George Mills
First issue1918; 104 years ago (1918)
Final issue
Number
1920 (1920)
5
CountryCanada
Based inMontreal
Language
  • French
  • English

Les Mouches fantastiques (lit. The Fantastic Flies) was a Canadian underground magazine published between 1918 and 1920.[2][3] Based in Montreal, Quebec, it is the first known LGBT-themed publication in Canadian and North American history.

The magazine arose out of a local writing circle established by poet Elsa Gidlow,[4] with Gidlow and journalist Roswell George Mills as its primary contributors. The publication's working title, prior to the publication of its first issue, was Coal from Hades.[2] Its content included both poetry and non-fiction writing about gay and lesbian identity and politics,[2] as well as editorials opposing the war.[5]

The magazine was widely distributed far beyond Montreal, within both gay and lesbian social networks and the underground community of amateur journalists.[2] The magazine received correspondence from as far away as Havana, Cuba; an Episcopal priest from South Dakota left the priesthood and moved to Montreal to become Mills' partner after being exposed to the magazine;[6] and the magazine was heavily criticized in a 1918 essay by American writer H. P. Lovecraft.[2][6] The essay appears in Miscellaneous Writings, a posthumous collection of Lovecraft's shorter writings, which was published in 1995.

Five issues of the magazine were published;[2] it was discontinued in 1920 when Mills and Gidlow moved from Montreal to New York City.[2] Few copies of the publication are known to still exist today.[2] One is in the archives of the University of South Florida,[2] the University of Iowa library has an original of all five issues,[7] and the Quebec Gay Archives has a reprint of the final issue. The New York Public Library catalog notes two issues (Vol. I, no. 5, May 1918; and Vol. II, no. 1, March 1920).

References

  1. ^ a b c Les Mouches fantastiques. OCLC 986992619.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Canada's first gay rag". Xtra!. Toronto: Pink Triangle Press. February 19, 2015.
  3. ^ Gidlow, Elsa (1986). Elsa, I come with my songs : the autobiography of Elsa Gidlow. San Francisco: Booklegger Press. pp. 82-83. ISBN 0912932120. OCLC 11621381.
  4. ^ "The Improbable Life and Loves of Elsa Gidlow". Kingston Whig-Standard. Kingston. March 23, 1988.
  5. ^ Gidlow, p.83.
  6. ^ a b Faig, Ken, Jr. (July 2006). "Lavender Ajays of the Red-Scare Period: 1917–1920" (PDF). The Fossil. 102 (4): 5–17.
  7. ^ "Les Mouches Fantastiques | ArchivesSpace at the University of Iowa". aspace.lib.uiowa.edu. Retrieved 2018-08-27.

Further reading