By Julie Abraham
"Are ladies necessary?" asks Julie Abraham during this provocative examine of 20th-century lesbian writing. reading the improvement of lesbian writing in English around the twentieth Century, Abraham identifies a shift from this "romance" version to a extra complex "history" version. the nice modernists, Woolf and Stein, in addition to the preferred writers of succeeding generations, like Mary Renault, appeared to ancient narratives, growing an immense swap within the method the "lesbian tale" is outfitted. the probabilities in lesbian writing, from the early romance plots via to the post-1960s liberation move experiments, are Abraham's geography. inside of it, she deals special readings of significant writers in numerous genres, from excessive smooth to pulp, either British and American.
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Extra resources for Are Girls Necessary?: Lesbian Writing and Modern Histories
Unlike the heroines of the English novels of this generation, H. 's American girl has had access to a college education. She has just returned from Bryn Mawr, after failing her examinations, which means "fresh barriers, fresh chains, a mesh here. The degree almost gained would have been redemption,... 17 Having failed to order her life through education, she lacks any sense of what she might be and do: "She said, 'I am Hermione Gart,' but Her Gart was not that. She was nebulous" (3). However nebulous she feels, one option always remains, marriage: "She must have an image no matter how fluid, how inchoate.
But, as already noted, there are occasions when the narratives push the butches toward heterosexuality. On the one hand, such refusals to identify the masculine woman as the "real" lesbian keep both partners in heterosexual circulation. But on the other hand, if ascriptions of "real" lesbian status are undercut, so are ascriptions of "not real lesbian" status. If neither woman in a given couple is "really" lesbian, then any woman might find her way into a lesbian couple. The circulation of women within a system of heterosexual plots is also interrupted by the representation of romantic triangles among women.
A man sat opposite her, Therese did not know who. Carol "/ Ha ve a Narrative " 11 raised her hand slowly and brushed her hair back, once on either side, and Therese smiled because the gesture was Carol, and it was Carol she loved and would always love. . It would be Carol, in a thousand cities, a thousand houses, in foreign lands where they would go together, in heaven and in hell. Therese waited. Then as she was about to go to her, Carol saw her, seemed to stare at her incredulously a moment while Therese watched the slow smile growing, before her arm lifted suddenly, her hand waved a quick, eager greeting that Therese had never seen before.
Are Girls Necessary?: Lesbian Writing and Modern Histories by Julie Abraham