For our 13th, it’s Marcel Proust.
Marcel Proust (1871 – 1922) was a French novelist, critic, and essayist best known for his monumental novel À la recherche du temps perdu (‘In Search of Lost Time’) published in seven volumes from 1913 – 1927. Proust was gay, and his sexuality and relationships with men are often discussed by his biographers. However, Proust himself never admitted being gay, though it seems it was something of an open secret for those who knew him. On 5 February of 1897 (we really should’ve put Proust on the 5th, now we think about it) he duelled with fellow writer Jean Lorrain, a writer and dandy – and openly gay – who had accused Proust of being involved with a chap called Lucien Daudet. As writer Kathy Padden puts it in an article on the confrontation on Today I Found Out, “Yes, this was two gay men dueling over the suggestion that one of them was gay.”
Proust and Lorrain both fired their pistols; both shots missed. There’s some suggestion that both missed intentionally, but whatever the case, honour was satisfied and their relationship continued in simmering hatred for many more years.
The exact influence of Proust’s sexuality on his writing is a topic of debate. However, In Search of Lost Time discusses homosexuality at length and features several principal characters, both men and women, who are either gay or bisexual.
You can read more about his work, here: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2002/nov/02/classics.marcelproust