How to Be Queer: An Ancient Guide to Sexuality

    Translated with commentary by
  • Sarah Nooter

An irresistible anthology of ancient Greek writings that explore queer desire and love


Jun 4, 2024
4.5 x 6.75 in.
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Eros, limb-loosening, whirls me about again,
that bittersweet, implacable creature.

The idea of sexual fluidity may seem new, but it is at least as old as the ancient Greeks, who wrote about queer experiences with remarkable frankness, wit, and insight. How to Be Queer is an infatuating collection of these writings about desire, love, and lust between men, between women, and between humans and gods, in lucid and lively new translations. Filled with enthralling stories, this anthology invites readers of all sexualities and identities to explore writings that describe many kinds of erotic encounters and feelings, and that envision a playful and passionate approach to sexuality as part of a rich and fulfilling life.

How to Be Queer starts with Homer’s Iliad and moves through lyric poetry, tragedy, comedy, philosophy, and biography, drawing on a wide range of authors, including Sappho, Plato, Anacreon, Pindar, Theognis, Aristophanes, and Xenophon. It features both beautiful poetry and thought-provoking prose, emotional outpourings and humorous anecdotes. From Homer’s story of the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus, one of the most intense between men in world literature, to Sappho’s lyrics on the pleasures and pains of loving women, these writings show the many meanings of what the Greeks called eros.

Complete with brief introductions to the selections, and with the original Greek on facing pages, How to Be Queer reveals what the Greeks knew long ago—that the erotic and queer are a source of life and a cause for celebration.

Ideas Podcast: How to Be Queer