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Issue Categories Archives: Lesbians

The Sappho Craze

NEWLY TRANSLATED from the French, this intriguing inquiry is divided into three parts and twelve information-packed chapters. From the outset, author Nicole G. Albert sets out to show how male writers and artists propagated falsehoods about lesbianism in fin-de-siècle France. She argues that the renewal of interest in Sappho is inseparable from the vogue for antiquity that reached a high point in the 1890s. She shows how, between the mid-19th and early 20th centuries, a veritable cottage industry arose to produce books and pictures dealing with lesbians. Lesbian Decadence is a kind of decadent tour of lesbian Paris according to mostly male writers and illustrators obsessed with what women do with each other in bed.

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Reassessing a 19th-century Novelist

IF WRITER Constance Fenimore Woolson (1840-1894) is remembered today, it is usually for her close friendship and literary rivalry with Henry James. Both writers had made a pact early in their friendship to burn their correspondence, and much of their relationship remains wreathed in mystery.

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Barbara Hammer Reflects on a Life of Filmmaking

  LESBIAN FILMMAKER and video artist Barbara Hammer, now in her early seventies, has been exploding long-held myths about both gender and the art of filmmaking since the 1970’s. Her portrayals of lesbian sex, menstruation, female orgasm, and the full range of human sexuality have propelled her into the forefront of radical lesbian filmmaking and […]

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Get to Know Frances Kellor

I HAVE LONG MARVELED that my hero, the subject of my dissertation and book, Frances Kellor (1873–1952), is not as famous as her contemporary Jane Addams. You’ve probably heard of Addams, who started settlement houses for immigrants, most famously Hull House in Chicago. Kellor worked with immigrants at the same time. And yet, Addams is in every high school textbook on U.S. history, while Kellor is nowhere to be found. While a few explanations are plausible, I believe Kellor has been written out of history mostly because she was a lesbian and because she publicly challenged gender norms.

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Short Reviews

This well-researched study of twenty formative years of lesbian community-building in Canada covers a lot of ground. Liz Millward describes the challenges for lesbians in Canada in the 1960s and beyond.

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Just One Look

Carol Directed by Todd Haynes The Weinstein Company   THE BEST WAY to measure the spark in any romantic relationship is to see whether a person’s face lights up when their beloved enters a room. A glimmer in the eye or even the faintest smile is all it takes. This explains why, in Todd Haynes’ […]

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Woman + Woman = Enlightenment

The Sexuality of History: Modernity and the Sapphic, 1565-1830 by Susan S. Lanser University of Chicago Press 344 pages, $95. (paperback $32.50)     THE AUTHOR of this book defends a daring hypothesis. Her argument, which is supported by considerable research, is that “sapphic” relationships between women, both real and imagined, belong not at the […]

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At the Hidden Core of the Big Apple

THE INTERWAR YEARS, from the Armistice of 1918 until Pearl Harbor, were fertile for cultural productivity in New York City. Gay men and lesbians were at the heart of accomplishments in the literature, music, and dance of the period. And their creativity only increased after World War II in the new arena of mass entertainment. […]

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The Hijacking of Lesbian History

“If you destroy an entire generation of a people’s culture, it’s as if they never existed.”                                                                          — Film trailer […]

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As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks, 1964-1980 by Susan Sontag

Notes on Self

This volume covers Sontag’s life from age 31 to 47. During this period, she wrote some of her best-known essays, including the epic ‘Notes on Camp’ (1964). …

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