Glassco characterized himself in 1934 as a “trifler, dilettante, petit-maître,” and although Busby takes issue with that self-appraisal, I think Glassco was essentially right. There is nothing wrong, after all, with being a Kleinmeister. Many writers, painters, and composers whom we value were exactly that. The history of the arts would be much the poorer without the work of Aloysius Bertrand, Ernest Chausson, and Henri Rivière, just to name three of the nineteenth-century French minor masters. By virtue of one imperishable book, some good poetry, and some excellent translations, not to mention his many famous friends and acquaintances, Glassco deserves a biographer as accomplished as Busby and a book as compellingly readable as A Gentleman of Pleasure. This is Busby’s first foray into literary biography, and he has done his homework exceedingly well. He took great pains to trace archival material, not just in the obvious places (the Glassco papers themselves), but also in more obscure corners of the archival world. Pornography is legendarily a complicated bibliographical subject, and Busby has navigated its unsettled waters with aplomb. The portrait he draws, based on solid research, is detailed and lively, even if in the end one feels that his subject is not one with whom someone would ever have wanted to live.The entire review is found here.
Welcome to this cyberplace, set up as a space for news and reviews of A Gentleman of Pleasure… and occasional jottings about John Glassco. Five years have now passed since publication, and I've moved on to other projects, but I'm leaving this up with the thought that those drawn to Glassco's writing will find something of interest.