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Inseparable: Desire Between Women in Literature

by

Inseparable: Desire Between Women in Literature Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Emma Donoghue, consummate scholar and novelist of astonishing originality, examines how desire between women in literature has been portrayed—from schoolgirls and vampires to runaway wives, from cross-dressing knights to contemporary murderesses. Donoghue excavates the long-obscured tradition of friendship between women, one that is surprisingly central to our cultural history. From Chaucer and Shakespeare, Sade, Balzac, Thomas Hardy and Radclyffe Hall to Agatha Christie, Patricia Highsmith and Sarah Waters, Inseparable is a landmark exploration of love between women in Western literature, and a highly entertaining investigation of the "unspeakable subject."

Synopsis:

From a writer of astonishing versatility and erudition, the much-admired literary critic, novelist, short-story writer, and scholar ("Dazzling"—The Washington Post; "One of those rare writers who seems to be able to work on any register, any time, any atmosphere, and make it her own"—The Observer), a book that explores the little-known literary tradition of love between women in Western literature, from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Charlotte Bronte, Dickens, Agatha Christie, and many more.

Emma Donoghue brings to bear all her knowledge and grasp to examine how desire between women in English 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 (inseparable) friendship between women, one that is surprisingly central to our cultural history.

Donoghue writes about the half-dozen contrasting girl-girl plots that have been told and retold over the centuries, metamorphosing from generation to generation. What interests the author are the twists and turns of the plots themselves and how these stories have changed — or haven't &mdash over the centuries, rather than how they reflect their time and society.

Donoghue explores the writing of Sade, Diderot, Balzac, Thomas Hardy, H. Rider Haggard, Elizabeth Bowen, and others and the ways in which the woman who desires women has been cast as not quite human, as ghost or vampire.

She writes about the ever-present triangle, found in novels and plays from the last three centuries, in which a woman and man compete for the heroine's love… about how — and why — same-sex attraction is surprisingly ubiquitous in crime fiction, from the work of Wilkie Collins and Dorothy L. Sayers to that of P. D. James.

Finally, Donoghue looks at the plotline that has dominated writings about desire between women since the later nineteenth century: how a woman's life is turned upside down by the realization that she desires another woman, whether she comes to terms with this discovery privately, "comes out of the closet," or is publicly "outed."

She shows how this narrative pattern has remained popular and how it has taken many forms, in the works of George Moore, Radclyffe Hall, Patricia Highsmith, and Rita Mae Brown, from case-history-style stories and dramas, in and out of the courtroom, to schoolgirl love stories and rebellious picaresques.

A revelation of a centuries-old literary tradition — brilliant, amusing, and until now, deliberately overlooked.


Synopsis:

Emma Donoghue examines how desire between women in English literature has been portrayed, from schoolgirls and vampires to runaway wives, from cross-dressing knights to contemporary murder stories. She looks at the work of those writers who have addressed the "unspeakable subject," examining whether same-sex desire is freakish or omnipresent, holy or evil, as she excavates a long-obscured tradition of (inseparable) friendship between women, one that is surprisingly central to our cultural history. Donoghue explores the writing of Sade, Balzac, Hardy, Wilkie, Sayers, Highsmith and more to reveal the half-dozen contrasting girl-girl plots that have been told and retold over the centuries; the paranormal identities assigned to women who desire other women; the ubiquity of same-sex attraction in crime fiction; and the contemporary narratives of coming out privately and publicly. Inseparable is a revelation of a centuries-old literary tradition — brilliant, amusing, and until now, deliberately overlooked.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781573447171
Author:
Donoghue, Emma
Publisher:
Cleis Press
Subject:
Gay & Lesbian
Subject:
Women Authors
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20110931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
19 BandW photos
Pages:
273
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Gay and Lesbian » Fiction and Poetry » General
History and Social Science » Feminist Studies » Reference
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

Inseparable: Desire Between Women in Literature New Trade Paper
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Product details 273 pages Cleis Press - English 9781573447171 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
From a writer of astonishing versatility and erudition, the much-admired literary critic, novelist, short-story writer, and scholar ("Dazzling"—The Washington Post; "One of those rare writers who seems to be able to work on any register, any time, any atmosphere, and make it her own"—The Observer), a book that explores the little-known literary tradition of love between women in Western literature, from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Charlotte Bronte, Dickens, Agatha Christie, and many more.

Emma Donoghue brings to bear all her knowledge and grasp to examine how desire between women in English 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 (inseparable) friendship between women, one that is surprisingly central to our cultural history.

Donoghue writes about the half-dozen contrasting girl-girl plots that have been told and retold over the centuries, metamorphosing from generation to generation. What interests the author are the twists and turns of the plots themselves and how these stories have changed — or haven't &mdash over the centuries, rather than how they reflect their time and society.

Donoghue explores the writing of Sade, Diderot, Balzac, Thomas Hardy, H. Rider Haggard, Elizabeth Bowen, and others and the ways in which the woman who desires women has been cast as not quite human, as ghost or vampire.

She writes about the ever-present triangle, found in novels and plays from the last three centuries, in which a woman and man compete for the heroine's love… about how — and why — same-sex attraction is surprisingly ubiquitous in crime fiction, from the work of Wilkie Collins and Dorothy L. Sayers to that of P. D. James.

Finally, Donoghue looks at the plotline that has dominated writings about desire between women since the later nineteenth century: how a woman's life is turned upside down by the realization that she desires another woman, whether she comes to terms with this discovery privately, "comes out of the closet," or is publicly "outed."

She shows how this narrative pattern has remained popular and how it has taken many forms, in the works of George Moore, Radclyffe Hall, Patricia Highsmith, and Rita Mae Brown, from case-history-style stories and dramas, in and out of the courtroom, to schoolgirl love stories and rebellious picaresques.

A revelation of a centuries-old literary tradition — brilliant, amusing, and until now, deliberately overlooked.


"Synopsis" by ,
Emma Donoghue examines how desire between women in English literature has been portrayed, from schoolgirls and vampires to runaway wives, from cross-dressing knights to contemporary murder stories. She looks at the work of those writers who have addressed the "unspeakable subject," examining whether same-sex desire is freakish or omnipresent, holy or evil, as she excavates a long-obscured tradition of (inseparable) friendship between women, one that is surprisingly central to our cultural history. Donoghue explores the writing of Sade, Balzac, Hardy, Wilkie, Sayers, Highsmith and more to reveal the half-dozen contrasting girl-girl plots that have been told and retold over the centuries; the paranormal identities assigned to women who desire other women; the ubiquity of same-sex attraction in crime fiction; and the contemporary narratives of coming out privately and publicly. Inseparable is a revelation of a centuries-old literary tradition — brilliant, amusing, and until now, deliberately overlooked.
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