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Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 237 – Our F/Favorite Tropes Part 2: Spinsters - transcript

(Originally aired 2022/08/20  - listen here)

Introduction

The spinster, the wallflower, the woman who is considered “on the shelf” and faces a future as an old maid. And then she meets…well, that’s going to be a surprise.

Demographics -- and especially demographic studies that include individual illustrative examples -- are fertile ground for thinking about character backstories. As I read this article, I took a lot of mental notes for my long-trunked-for-massive-revisions 1st century historic romance. I’d already decided to give one of my protagonists an Egyptian background to make use of some of the evidence and hints regarding f/f relations in Roman Egypt.

I'm starting another collection of articles, this time with a hybrid approach: some blogged at length, some with a fairly short note, and those that aren't relevant to the purpose of the Lesbian Historic Motif Project simply listed at the end of this first entry. (That doesn't mean they aren't interesting! Just not directly relevant.) Depending on how I schedule the individual articles, this may take me well into September (which would be convenient as I'll be doing some traveling then) or I may post them more frequently to get through the lot in August.

We come to an end of Terry Castle's The Apparitional Lesbian. There's a steadily shrinking list of early "foundational" works that I have yet to cover in the Project. The remaining ones tend to be dense and theory-focused, like several works of Judith Butler on gender theory. (Older works on gender theory can be particularly tricky, given how rapidly the field morphs.) But for now, I'll be moving on to cover some of the articles in the collection The Single Life in the Roman and Later Roman World.

Moving on into the solidly 20th century topics of Castle's collection of essays, the framework of interpretation shifts. When people wrote or left evidence of their lives prior to the development of modern categories and vocabulary around lesbian identity, the work of trying to connect those lives with concepts of identity is necessarily difficult. That difficulty may include deliberate obfuscation, either by the subjects themselves or by those writing about them, but it may also simply involve a lack of clear and explicit language.

Sorry, no contemplative introduction today. Slept late.

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 236 - On the Shelf for August 2022 - Transcript

(Originally aired 2022/08/06 - listen here)

Welcome to On the Shelf for August 2022.

We're more than halfway through the year, so it's time to start beating the drum for next year's podcast fiction series! I mentioned late in 2021 that I was committing to continuing the series in 2023 by virtue of having agreed to commission a story in advance. But that's different from starting the active promotion. So spread the word.

The call for submissions is essentially identical to last year's. (I've made some minor revisions in the CfS text, but mostly because I can't read anything without feeling compelled to tweak the wording.)

One of the hazards of any vast sprawling research undertaking, such as the Lesbian Historic Motif Project, is anxiety about doing any sort of synthesis or conclusions with incomplete material. I still give an ironic mental wince when I recall that my original idea for the Project was to gather all the research and write a definitive sourcebook on lesbian motifs in history.

I've put my commentary in the "notes" section attached to the LHMP entry this time. A bit of an explanation of the complexities of the LHMP file structure...

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