The Penguin Book of Lesbian Short Stories

Front Cover
Margaret Reynolds
Viking, 1994 - Fiction - 429 pages
3 Reviews
And more than that - sometimes women love women. Like Queen Victoria, the world has preferred to believe that sex between women is impossible, resulting in a long silence between the writings of Sappho and the flowering of talent produced by feminism and the sexual revolution. Lesbian writing has come a long way since Virginia Woolf's famous essay of 1928. Since then women have challenged traditional forms of expression and subject matter in an extraordinarily rich and varied discourse to give voice to the lesbian imagination. In this wide-ranging anthology, Margaret Reynolds has brought together the work of thirty-two women from Britain, continental Europe, and the Americas - including three specially commissioned pieces - that covers nearly a century of lesbian writing, from Sarah Orne Jewett (1897) to Jeanette Winterson (1993). The collection ranges from Frances Gapper's pastiche of a Romantic melodrama, through the wry humor of Merril Mushroom's description of butch and femme courting rituals, to the wit of Alison Bechdel's cartoon strip. The anxiety of unresolved desire is present in many stories - Radclyffe Hall's Miss Ogilvy is unable truly to find herself in this world, Djuna and Lillian hold back from each other in Anais Nin's "Cities of the Interior, " and the energy and commitment that should go into a loving relationship are stifled by convention in Jane Rule's story of passion outside marriage. But here are brave spirits, too - Renee Vivien's Sarolta and her Prince(ss) live forever in a vision of ideal tenderness, Colette's heroines preserve the sanctity of their little white bed, and Jewelle Gomez's bulldagger society survives far from the haunts of men. There arecoming-out stories, stories about cross-dressing, vampire tales, science fiction, parody, and romance. Each story is quite different from the others, yet each acknowledges a particular facet of lesbian history and makes it real.

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Review: The Penguin Book of Lesbian Short Stories

User Review  - Freyja Vanadis - Goodreads

There were very few stories in this book that were worthwhile; many of the stories and poems were written by historic lesbians of the early 20th century, like Radclyffe Hall. Read full review

Review: The Penguin Book of Lesbian Short Stories

User Review  - Korri - Goodreads

So far I'm pleased with this anthology, not least of all because it features 'happy' stories instead of the large body of literature demonizing or diagnosing lesbians (while Faderman's anthology Chloe ... Read full review

Contents

SARAH ORNE JEWETT Marthas Lady 1897 i
1
RENEE VIVIEN Prince Charming 1904 translated
20
The Wise Sappho c 191618
26
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About the author (1994)

Margaret Reynolds is a writer, teacher, critic, and broadcaster. Her 1992 edition of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "Aurora Leigh" won the British Academy's Rose Mary Crawshay Prize.

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