The Penguin Book of Lesbian Short Stories
Viking, 1994 - Fiction - 429 pages
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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She asked me about my job, school; I asked her about her girlfriend, driving the
taxi. The room was dark. We always met in darkness it seemed. I knew that soon
she would touch me and I was already wet with wanting her. Here, now, on the ...
Once quite recently we were rather drunk at a large and noisy party; Liz was
dancing on the other side of the room and some man - not a very nice one -
asked me some question about Liz's early career, and Liz detached herself from
the arms ...
A young man, perhaps more confident because he was better looking than the
older, slack-bellied submissives, accosted a dark-haired, dignified mistress and
asked if he might give her a foot massage. She acquiesced, and they adjourned
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In the last half-dozen years, collections of lesbian plays, coming-out stories, mysteries, and poetry have been published, mostly by small presses. Now, The Penguin Book of Lesbian Short Stories ... Read full review
SARAH ORNE JEWETT Marthas Lady 1897 I
RENEE VIVIEN Prince Charming 1904 translated
The Wise Sappho c 191618
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