"Are girls necessary?" asks Julie Abraham in this provocative study of 20th-century lesbian writing. Examining the development of lesbian writing in English across the 20th Century, Abraham identifies a shift from this "romance" model to a more complicated "history" model. The great modernists, Woolf and Stein, as well as the popular writers of succeeding generations, like Mary Renault, looked to historical narratives, creating an important change in the way the "lesbian story" is built.The possibilities in lesbian writing, from the early romance plots through to the post-1960s liberation movement experiments, are Abraham's geography. Within it, she offers detailed readings of major writers in several genres, from high modern to pulp, both British and American.
Table of Contents
Preface: ``Are Girls Necessary?'' xi
Introduction: ``I Have a Narrative'' 1 (40)
Part I: ``Tell the Lacadaemonians''
Willa Cather's New World Histories 41 (20)
Mary Renault's Greek Drama 61 (20)
Part II: ``Love Is Writing''
Washington, James, (Toklas), and Stein 81 (40)
Djuna Barnes, Memory, and Forgetting 121(18)
Virginia Woolf and the Sexual Histories of 139(30)
Afterword: ``Reading and the Experiences of 169(4)