desire between women in literature

271 pages

English language

Published Feb. 24, 2010 by Alfred A. Knopf.

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Explores the little-known literary tradition of love between women in Western literature, from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Charlotte Brontë, Dickens, Agatha Christie, and many more. Donoghue examines how desire between women in English literature has been portrayed, from schoolgirls and vampires to runaway wives, from cross-dressing knights to contemporary murder stories. She writes about the half-dozen contrasting girl-girl plots that have been retold throughout the centuries; explores the writings of Sade, Diderot, Balzac, Thomas Hardy, H. Rider Haggard, Elizabeth Bowen and others and the ways in which the woman who desires women has been cast as not quite human, as ghost or vampire; she writes about the ever-present triangle, in which a woman and a man compete for the heroine's love, and about how and why same-sex attraction is surprisingly ubiquitous in crime fiction, from the work of Wilkie Collins and Dorothy L. Sayers to that of P.D. James. Finally …

1 edition


  • English literature -- History and criticism
  • French literature -- History and criticism
  • Lesbianism in literature
  • Desire in literature
  • Women in literature