Emma Liggins
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The misfit lesbian heroine of inter-war fiction
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This considers the crossovers between lesbian and spinster identities in the interwar period. Lesbian novels by Radclyffe Hall, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Rosamond Lehmann, and Clemence Dane are scrutinized in the context of sexological debates about perversity and abnormality, advice literature on female friendship and arguments about lesbian modernism and female masculinity. I develop queer readings of the ‘apparitional lesbian’ and question whether the lesbian heroine can be rescued from isolation. Such arguments are related to the normalising and coding of same-sex desire in autobiographical accounts.

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Odd women?

Spinsters, lesbians and widows in British women’s fiction, 1850s–1930s


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