A Global History of Love Between WomenBook - 2009
From the ancient poet Sappho to tombois in contemporary Indonesia, women throughout history and around the globe have desired, loved, and had sex with other women. In beautiful prose, Sapphistries tells their stories, capturing the multitude of ways that diverse societies have shaped female same-sex sexuality across time and place.
Leila J. Rupp reveals how, from the time of the very earliest societies, the possibility of love between women has been known, even when it is feared, ignored, or denied. We hear women in the sex-segregated spaces of convents and harems whispering words of love. We see women beginning to find each other on the streets of London and Amsterdam, in the aristocratic circles of Paris, in the factories of Shanghai. We find women's desire and love for women meeting the light of day as Japanese schoolgirls fall in love, and lesbian bars and clubs spread from 1920s Berlin to 1950s Buffalo. And we encounter a world of difference in the twenty-first century, as transnational concepts and lesbian identities meet local understandings of how two women might love each other.
Giving voice to words from the mouths and pens of women, and from men's prohibitions, reports, literature, art, imaginings, pornography, and court cases, Rupp also creatively employs fiction to imagine possibilities when there is no historical evidence. Sapphistries combines lyrical narrative with meticulous historical research, providing an eminently readable and uniquely sweeping story of desire, love, and sex between women around the globe from the beginning of time to the present.
From the critics
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"A Toronto butch announced that living openly was 'an indication of pride in the homosexual way of life.' Although fems could pass more easily, butch-fem couples on the streets embodied 'sexual courage' in making visible their erotic desires."
"I know. I know all about it...You're neither unnatural, nor abonimable, nor mad; you're as much a part of what people call nature as anyone else; only you're unexplained as yet--you've not got your niche in creation. But some day that will come." (Puddle of Stephen, in book The Well of Loneliness, byt Radclyffe Hall)
"...I am this way...as simply as a stream flows down a hill. It has always been...How many years of my life have I spent...This wasn't evil, this wasn't debauchery. It was love made flesh." ~Anne Damer to Mary Berry
"...if you looked farther than the end of your nose, you'd find a lot of us about...For there are those of us who know that such machinery but gets in the way of a woman's true pleasure." Bridget to Moll (in the Book The Roaring Girl, by Ellen Galford)
"Whether hidden or in plain sight, some women who loved or desired other women found ways, since the earliest recorded history, to be together." ~Leila Rupp (Ch. 6, Finding Each Other)
"But what lingers is the image of two people in love, without concepts or identities and without the need for them: two people who desire each other." ~Leila Rupp on Jackie Kay's characters, Josephine Moore (who became Joss Moody) and her love Millie Moody, in her bookTrumpets.
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