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LHMP #113 Bennett 1990 “The Pea That Duty Locks: Lesbian and Feminist-Heterosexual Readings of Emily Dickinson’s Poetry”

Full citation: 

Bennett, Paula. “The Pea That Duty Locks: Lesbian and Feminist-Heterosexual Readings of Emily Dickinson’s Poetry” in Jay, Karla & Joanne Glasgow (eds). 1990. Lesbian Texts and Contexts: Radical Revisions. New York University Press, New York. ISBN 0-8147-4177

Publication summary: 

 

This is a collection of literary studies relating to the theme of lesbianism, whether of the author or content, and specifically within the framework of lesbian/feminism. There are 22 papers in all, however I’ll be holding strictly to my pre-1900 scope. Literary critism is already marginal to the purpose of the Lesbian Historic Motif Project, except to the extent that the articles highlight literary works that themselves are of interest.

Bennett, Paula. “The Pea That Duty Locks: Lesbian and Feminist-Heterosexual Readings of Emily Dickinson’s Poetry”

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There is an entire industry devoted to finding homoerotic content in Emily Dickinson’s work and life. Bennett looks at several of Dickinson’s works that provide a gendered addressee (male or female) and interprets the images and the nature of the implied relationship. Also treated are images and metaphors interpreted as portraying female sexuality (whether in relation to a man or woman). Bennett also manages to conclude that a number of Dickenson’s images are specifically clitoral metaphors, although I think this is moving into the realm of speculation rather than interpretation.

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