Skip to content Skip to navigation

20th c

The strict scope of this project cuts off at the 20th century, but this tag will occasionally be used when a source spills over.

LHMP entry

That takes care of all the chapters that cover pre-20th century material. Here’s what the rest of the book covers:

Part IV - Queer Modernisms

  • Danius, Sara “Black Socks, Green Threads: On Proust and the Hermeneutics of Inversion”
  • Tinsley, Omise’eke Natasha “‘This Sudden Silence’: A Brief History of the Literature of Caribbean Women Who Love Women”
  • Cole, Merrill “Modernist Poetry”
  • Gurfinkel, Helena “Queer, Cosmopolitan”

Part V - Geographies of Same-Sex Desire in the Modern World

This chapter looks at two creative movements that intersected strongly with queer representation. Of these, the decadent movement was more pervasive. While centered in France, it was international in scope, while the aesthetic movement was primarily British. The author is interested in these movements in how they expressed the complexities and contradictions of developing “queer modernity.”

This article works through a lens of the sexualization of Black identities and Black bodies, as well as how desire is constructed in Black writing. The content is not limited to writers with same-sex desire and covers up through 1930, looking at three distinct eras: antebellum, later 19th century, and Harlem Renaissance. [Note: the Harlem Renaissance is a rich historic and social era, but falls outside the time scope of the Project.]

This chapter begins with a discussion of what is known about Sappho, her poetry, and her reputation among her contemporaries in ancient Greece. The tragically fragmentary nature of the written legacy of her work is traced, including the nine volume collection lost in the 9th century and the recovery of fragments of her work from papyrus sources in the late 19th and 20th centuries.

Note the publication date (1999) which means that this study of lesbian gothic literature will be far from up-to-date, and will reflect a previous generation’s ideas and experiences (as well as not reflecting the boom in queer literature that the e-book revolution has enabled). The introductory material suggests that the study’s scope will focus strongly on what today might be classified as paranormal (witches and vampires) rather than more classical gothics.

The author makes a connection between themes prominent in the “coming-out story” (i.e., secrecy, guilt, persecution, and the fragmentation of the self) and the dominant themes of gothic fiction. Similarly there are connections in the reframing of the domestic sphere from a place of love and security to a site of secrets and maltreatment. As a genre rooted in marginality (of taste, politics, and sexuality) he argues that there is an inherent connection between gothic literature and representations of homosexuality.

It’s always a good reminder to “check the publication date” when reading academic studies of popular culture. This article, having been written in 2008, can’t reflect a more up-to-date range of lesbian gothics. But perhaps more to the point, it focuses almost entirely on two specific works: Djuna Barnes’ Nightwood (published 1936) and Sarah Waters’ Affinity (published 1999), so it reflects an even older approach to lesbian themes in gothic fiction (while still addressing modern fiction rather than fiction from the origins of the gothic genre).

For this chapter I will mostly skim for aspects of Castle’s theoretical structure rather than the topical content.

This chapter concerns German opera singer Bridget Fassbender. Castle discusses the context of opera that has given women in the 19th and 20th centuries license to openly admire other women. [Note: although Castle focuses exclusively on opera singers, the same observations can be made about actresses, see for example the female fans of Charlotte Cushman.]

This chapter looks at mid-20th century journalist Janet Flanner, publishing in the New Yorker under the ambiguous pen name “Genêt”, who worked in an era when being open about her homosexuality was not a practical option. But evasiveness and compartmentalization was also a feature of her life and work more generally.

This chapter introduces a late 19th century spiritualist who, along with other supposed past lives, recounted her past life as Queen Marie Antoinette. Her performance as Marie Antoinette was knowledgeable but erratic, often “forgetting” that she wasn’t supposed to be familiar with modern objects and activities, then reacting to audience skepticism by reverting to ignorance of them. Her audience, including a psychologist studying her, recognized it all as an act, but one with significant verisimilitude.

Pages

Subscribe to 20th c