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Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Deborah Cohler, Citizen, Invert, Queer: Lesbianism and War in the Early Twentieth Century Britain (2010)

I am perhaps going to be predisposed towards a study in which the author discloses that she discovered Edith Ellis through the extracts in Outspoken Women and rushed out to obtain The New Horizon in Love and Life to find out more (bless).

But I rather liked this: I didn't agree with everything but there were lots of useful insights, and the whole thing makes a useful contribution to the work by Laura Doan, Alison Oram, etc, complicating the idea that sexological constructions of lesbianism became culturally hegemonic during the first few decades of the C20th. Cohler has a particularly valuable analysis of the disjuncture between female gender noncomformity in the direction considered 'masculine' and ideas of female 'sexual perversity' i.e. same-sex desire - these were not seen as necessarily mapping.

What she doesn't have is any consideration of the 'morbid emotions' discourse which is about an unhealthy pathologised femininity - which is actually a bit of a relief given that this is what I'm looking at in my paper for the Berks and may offer at other forthcoming conferences

1 comment:

  1. Thanks very much for this, as well as for all of your work that has helped me to do mine (Outspoken Women but one example...).
    - Deb Cohler