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The dividing line between women's same-sex friendships and romantic relationshps can be fuzzy--and distinguishing them on the basis of often scanty documentary evidence is difficult indeed. This article looks at the structure and rhetoric of female friendship in the middle ages and how some specific friendships are reflected in the correspondence of Saint Hildegard of Bingen.

This book chapter very conveniently lays out the problem of the historical novelist: given a general life story that is compatible with--but not prescriptive of--lesbian experience, how do we fill in the more detailed social context that establishes both the plausibility of our proposed story and how our characters would experience it on a day to day basis? Not that this is what Hitchcock is trying to do. After all, historians are not supposed to be looking to prove theories about specific individuals, but to determine what is actually knowable about them.

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 65 (previously 25a) - On the Shelf for August 2018 - Transcript

(Originally aired 2018/08/04 - listen here)

Welcome to On the Shelf for August 2018.

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 64 (previously 24d) - Women and Same-Sex Marriage in Western History - transcript

(Originally aired 2018/07/28 - listen here)

One of the themes mentioned by several authors in the collection The Lesbian Premodern was that social understandings of gender/sexuality in Western culture behave in cyclic ways, not as a linear evolutoin of understanding and expression. Lanser's article here looks at one of those cycles: the association of female homoerotic discourse, feminist philosophy, and woman-centered socializing. Understanding cycles such as these can be critical to grounding fiction in a particular time and place.

The unfortunate fact is that one of the best sources of detailed information on pre-modern same-sex eroticism comes from legal records when those relationships came under scrutiny either by religious or secular authorities. This not only means that those case histories often are accompanied by tragic fates or at least unhappy ends, but it means that we can get an image of the participants as viewing their own experiences negatively.

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 63 (previously 24c) - Book Appreciation with Justine Saracen - transcript

(Originally aired 2018/07/21 - listen here)

Heather Rose: This week, Justine Saracen joins us again to talk about some favorite books she's read that feature queer women in history. Welcome back, Justine.

The Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 62 (previously 24b) - Interview with Justine Saracen - transcript

(Originally aired 2018/07/14 - listen here)

One of the serendipitiously enjoyable things about deep dives into history is discovering personal connections between unexpected people. When I did my podcast on actress Charlotte Cushman, I was stunned by how she fit into an enormous network of literary, political, and artistic women of the mid 19th century, operating across Europe and America. My imagined "girl gang" here is purely one of the imagination.

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 61 (previously 24a) - On the Shelf for July 2018 - Transcript

(Originally aired 2018/07/07 - listen here)

Welcome to On the Shelf for July 2018.

I’d like to give a shout-out to all the listeners currently at the Golden Crown Literary Society conference, even though I doubt any of them will be listening to this podcast until later. It’s a pretty jam-packed event.

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