Love between women crops up throughout literature: from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Charlotte Bronte, Dickens, Agatha Christie, and many more. In Inseparable Emma Donoghue examines how desire between women in literature has been portrayed, from schoolgirls and vampires to runaway wives, from cross-dressing knights to contemporary murder stories. ...
Love between women crops up throughout literature: from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Charlotte Bronte, Dickens, Agatha Christie, and many more. In Inseparable Emma Donoghue examines how desire between women in literature has been portrayed, from schoolgirls and vampires to runaway wives, from cross-dressing knights to contemporary murder stories. Donoghue looks at the work of those writers who have addressed the 'unspeakable subject', examining whether such desire between women is freakish or omnipresent, holy or evil, heart-warming or ridiculous as she excavates a long-obscured tradition of female friendship, one that is surprisingly central to our cultural history. A revelation of a centuries-old literary tradition - brilliant, amusing, and until now, deliberately overlooked.
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Publishers Weekly, 2010-03-01 "The past is a wild party; check your preconceptions at the door," warns British literary historian and novelist Donoghue (Slammerkin) in her comprehensive catalogue of a thousand years of Western literature. "[I]n Western culture passion between women is always a big deal, whether presented as glorious or shameful, angelic or monstrous," she claims. These passions are not always, strictly speaking, lesbian, Donoghue says, as she sorts them into categories (e.g., cross-dressing and the resulting "?Žaccident' of same-sex desire'?"; women friends who remain inseparable despite all obstacles). She links them to historical developments and deciphers their sometimes obscure language. "Morbid," for example, was often a code word for "lesbian" in the 19th century. Delivering on her promise of a wild party, Donoghue reads Clarissa as a rivalry between Lovelace and Anna for Clarissa's heart; she considers Jane Eyre as an early schoolgirl novel (note Jane's crush on her schoolmate Helen), whose form would be adapted by early lesbian coming-out novels. With her excellent reading list, readers can test for themselves the "unexpected continuity" Donoghue finds in the presence of passion between women in Western literature. 19 photos. (May 26) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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