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Article Categories Archives: Lesbians

Ethel Smyth: Composer, Feminist, Suffragette

  IN LATE SPRING OF 2015, I received a flyer from Bard College advertising their SummerScape opera production of The Wreckers (1904), by the British composer Ethel Smyth, with a libretto by Harry Brewster. It took a moment for me to notice that the opera had been composed by a woman. Two thoughts occurred to […]

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Where to Find Virginia Woolf

IN THIS CRITICAL BIOGRAPHY of Virginia Woolf, Ira Nadel takes us on a tour of the places of significance in Woolf’s life while drawing connections among these places, her relationships, and her writings.

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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

Reviews of David Bowie’s album Blackstar, and the books: Batty Bwoy and Making a Scene: Lesbians and Community across Canada, 1964-84.

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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

In the first chapter of The Sexuality of History—a play on Michel Foucault’s famous title, The History of Sexuality—Susan S. Lanser argues that the basic trappings of modern Western civilization, everything from eating with forks to the “rights of man,” first appeared in the 1600s and have been developing since then.

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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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