Witton Old Jewish Cemetery Metropolitan Borough of Birmingham, West Midlands, England
Alan Dale (May 14, 1861 - May 21, 1928) was an influential British theatre critic, playwright and book author of the late Victorian and early 20th Century eras. A Marriage Below Zero is the first novel in English to explicitly explore the subject of male homosexuality. Written by a British émigré to America, the New York theater critic Alfred J. Cohen, under the pseudonym of “Alan Dale,” this first-person narrative is told by a young Englishwoman, Elsie Bouverie, who gradually discovers that her new husband, Arthur Ravener, is romantically involved with another man. Denounced on publication (“a saturnalia in which the most monstrous forms of human vice exhibit themselves shamelessly,” wrote one reviewer), the novel was published during the public exposure of a London homosexual brothel frequented by upper-class men and telegraph boys. A Marriage Below Zero reflected late-nineteenth-century fears and anxieties about homosexuality, women’s position in marriage, and the threat that seemingly new, illicit forms of desire posed to marriageable women and to the Victorian family.
Alan Dale was born Alfred Jacob Cohen in Birmingham, England. He arrived in New York in 1887 and became a drama critic for several New York papers i.e., New York Evening World, New York Journal and the New York American. His reviews of plays were often negative but helped sell a lot of William Randolph Hearst's newspapers. The theatre world despised Dale for his acid reviews. His spouse was Carrie L. Frost and they had at least one child Margaret (or Marjorie). Dale died aboard train while traveling from Plymouth to Birmingham. He had undergone several operations previously after health problems.
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