By Julie Abraham
"Are women necessary?" asks Julie Abraham during this provocative research of 20th-century lesbian writing. reading the improvement of lesbian writing in English around the twentieth Century, Abraham identifies a shift from this "romance" version to a extra advanced "history" version. the nice modernists, Woolf and Stein, in addition to the preferred writers of succeeding generations, like Mary Renault, seemed to historic narratives, developing a huge switch within the method the "lesbian tale" is outfitted. the probabilities in lesbian writing, from the early romance plots via to the post-1960s liberation stream experiments, are Abraham's geography. inside of it, she deals special readings of significant writers in numerous genres, from excessive sleek to pulp, either British and American.
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Additional resources for Are Girls Necessary?: Lesbian Writing and Modern Histories
This sequence concludes with a version of Simonides' "For the Spartan Dead at Thermopylae": "Tell the Lacadaemonians . . that . . we . . lie ... here . . tell the Lacadaemonians that we lie here . . tell the Lacadaemonians that we lie here . . Obeying their orders" (220-221). The resolution achieved through this passage depends on the figure of Hermione as a message-bearer— "/ Have a Narrative" 19 Hermione as a writer. Simonides' epigram is a message of obedience and a message of defeat. The cost of obedience is death, but the message-bearer has escaped death, excused from obedience in order to report obedience.
Her evolution as a lesbian follows the pattern of Hermione's, out of a specific heterosexual relationship. Each move Therese makes towards Carol, the woman she discovers she loves, moves her away from her boyfriend Richard. When he is finally convinced that she will not marry him, and disappears cursing from the picture, she has to reject still another heterosexual proposal, from the more appealing Dannie. Highsmith is explicit about the connections between these choices: Therese's "consciousness .
The implication of the punishment of the female couple is less direct but equally significant. If lesbianism is considered not only a form of sexual behavior, but transgressive behavior to be rejected and punished, these fictional punishments "prove" the transgression. 15 "/ Have a Narrative " 7 Both the consistency and the detail of the lesbian novel's dependence on the heterosexual plot can be traced through the similarities between such ostensibly different lesbian novels as H. 's HERmione (1926/27) and Patricia Highsmith's The Price of 'SaltXI952).