Heroic Desire: Lesbian Identity and Cultural Space
"Lesbians are adept at constructing survival strategies. Our being in this world exacts a cost, and our identities mutate to incorporate and resist that cost. The reality of our world is our relentless demand for presence, an occupation of space which we have colonized for ourselves, in the name of a configuration of desires we call 'lesbian', -- the more reflective we can become about these tactics, the more powerful is our rhetoric of existence".
This book is concerned with the ways contemporary lesbians have taken up imaginative and material space. It describes the mechanics of presence, how modern lesbians have produced a discursive space which offers a refutation to the closet. Identities are produced, expressed, and authenticated by and through space. Understanding "real" and metaphorical spatial structures helps us to discover new sites of presence and resistance. Some famous spaces, such as New York, Paris, and Berlin, have been constitutive of modern gay and lesbian identities. Social spaces teach us something about the relations of domination and subordination around us, and we have seen recently in that struggle "to be", a growing politics of location and locatedness.
Space is also taken imaginatively. Our narratives, which have become moral and political handbooks, provide role models for building and consolidating identities and communities. By processes of interpretation, drawing from literary and cultural theory, the author displays ways in which lesbian identities are ascribed, resisted and embraced. The structure of the book is provided by the choice of models the author sees as organizing and mobilizing contemporary lesbian desire: the hero, the flaneur, thelesbian outlaw, the butch body and the lesbian nation. The lesbian flaneur and the lesbian hero are emotive figures of movement; both explore possibilities for lesbian identity and subjectivity. Both are adaptations of mainstream representations which have been manipulated for a lesbian political agenda, by contemporary North American writers, whose works the author explores in depth. The imagination, and experience, constitute dialectically the lesbian subject, and literature, the author demonstrates, is a principal forum for the exploration and testing of lesbian subjectivity, operating on an unconscious and emotional level.
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Space teems with ' possibilities , positions , intersections , passages , detours , u -
turns , deadends , ( and ) one - way ... Taking up the position of the walker he
discovers another , more anarchic spatiality : the city as concepts exceeded by
Lesbians have appropriated the outlaw position to explore their own identities ,
something which I have described at length in my previous work on lesbian
detective novels . ? In this chapter I intend to describe the historical placing of
... concept of Bergson ' s which is elaborated by Ann Game : A moving body
occupies successive positions in space , but the process by which it moves from
one position to another is one of duration which eludes space ( Bergson 1950 :
111 ) .
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The Lesbian Hero
The Lesbian Flâneur
The Butch Body
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