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All in all, this was the least satisfying of the four chapters of this book that I summarized in detail, from the viewpoint of providing a survey of the field. While the other three chapters were written by scholars with extensive work in the topic they took up, Thomas (based on some cursory googling) seems to be more a specialist in Victorian English culture, with queer history being only one of a number of specialized topics she has written on within that field.

As with the previous post, this chapter is written by a prolific and deeply knowledgeable scholar on the era in question. One of the benefits of a survey like the Cambridge Companion that is both a high-level overview and focuses specifically on lesbian history is that it can be easier to see some of the large-scale patterns. If the 17th century was an era when female homoeroticism was becoming more visible in general, the 18th century was an era when knowledge about female homoeroticism was becoming more organized into motifs, tropes, and categories.

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 233 - On the Shelf for July 2022 - Transcript

(Originally aired 2022/07/02 - listen here)

Welcome to On the Shelf for July 2022.

Lanser is one of the most significant voices in the study of lesbian themes in the Renaissance and early modern period, so it's not at all surprising that she does an excellent job at surveying the literature of the period. I'm a smidge less convinced by her framing discussion, suggesting that the significance of Queen Elizabeth I of England's extended reign as a woman, and as an unmarried woman at that, created a special context for disrupting concepts of gender and increasing discourse around female homoeroticism.

The chapters in the latter part of The Cambridge Companion to Lesbian Literature seems intended to provide something of a catalog to sources and themes in different eras. In this, the chapters succeed to varying degrees. This one does a fairly good job, first by analyzing the difficulties in defining "medieval lesbian literature," and then in looking at various genres and themes that have a "lesbian-like" resonance for the modern reader.

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 232 - Yuri Manga and Anime: Interview with Erica Friedman – transcript pending

(Originally aired 2022/06/18 - listen here)

Transcript is pending

Show Notes

In this episode we talk about:

I’m taking a different approach with this collection than my usual. Rather than either blogging all the articles or only blogging the relevant ones, I’m going to do a very brief summary of all the “less relevant” material in this book and then blog the four articles of specific historic interest separately. My very brief skim through the articles summarized below means that I’m likely oversimplifying or misrepresenting some of the details. But it seemed like a good compromise.

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 231 - On the Shelf for June 2022 - Transcript

(Originally aired 2022/06/05 - listen here)

Welcome to On the Shelf for June 2022.

News of the Field

Several years ago, I ran into references to this book as an in-process project and have been waiting eagerly for its publication. Blogging it as a LHMP entry is a bit meta: a blog in support of lesbian historical fiction looking at a study of lesbian historical fiction as a genre. Garber is looking at a number of questions that have been simmering in the back of my mind over the years of looking at LHF as a field. Why do we write historical fiction? In particular, why do we write queer historical fiction? And what does it mean to write specifically lesbian historical fiction?

I'm off at WisCon at the moment, so nothing brilliant to sum up here. I have the next LHMP entry already read,, written up, and ready to post. I figure I start off June with that one -- it's a really interesting academic look at the state of lesbian historical fiction, so you know it's right up my alley.


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