100 Heroes: Edward Prime-Stevenson

The gay man who wrote one of the earliest queer novels of the modern era.

100 Heroes: Edward Prime-Stevenson

Edward Prime-Stevenson was an American writer.

He used the pseudonym Xavier Mayne.


Born in 1868 in New Jersey, Prime-Stevenson studied law before going on to become a writer and journalist.

In 1902, Prime-Stevenson moved to Europe. He lived in Florence and Lausanne.

In 1906, under the pseudonym Xavier Mayne, Stevenson published the novel Imre: A Memorandum. The narrative follows two men who by chance meet at a cafe in Budapest, Hungary. The central characters are Oswald, a 30-something British aristocrat, and Imre, a 25-year-old Hungarian military officer. Over the course of several months they forge a friendship that leads to a series of cautious revelations and disclosures, and ultimately love.

Although not the first American gay novel to have been written, Imre: A Memorandum is notable because it's a story of two gay men who are comfortable in their sexuality and end up together. At the time, it was unprecedented for gay men to be shown in an affirmative way.

Prime-Stevenson died in 1942 - the cause of death was a heart-attack

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