Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America (Between Men--Between Women)

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9780140171228: Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America (Between Men--Between Women)

Lillian Faderman tells the compelling story of lesbian life in the 20th century, from the early 1900s to today's diverse lifestyles. Using journals, unpublished manuscripts, songs, news accounts, novels, medical literature, and numerous interviews, she relates an often surprising narrative of lesbian life.

"A key work...the point of reference from which all subsequent studies of 20th-century lesbian life in the United States will begin."—San Francisco Examiner.

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About the Author:

Lillian Faderman is professor emerita of English at California State University, Fresno, and author of the award-winning Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendship and Love Between Women from the Renaissance to the Present and Scotch Verdict: Miss Pirie and Miss Woods v. Dame Cumming Gordon. She is also the author of Naked in the Promised Land: A Memoir and To Believe in Women: What Lesbians Have Done for America―a History, and coauthor of Gay L. A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, And Lipstick Lesbians.

Review:

For those readers unfamiliar with Stonewall, Lesbian Nation, Daughters of Bilitis, lipsticks, or the difference between "romantic friendships" and lesbian-feminists, or for those readers who want to learn more, Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers provides an accessible, wide-ranging, meticulously researched history. Using information drawn from varied sources including literature, sociological and psychological studies, newspaper articles, military pamphlets, and movies, Lillian Faderman sets out to show the metamorphosis of a movement. At times the generalizations that occur as a result work against her stated acknowledgment of the diversity among individual lesbians, yet these generalizations also serve to show the broader sweeps and clashes in what has been a rapidly changing and often tumultuous history. Beginning with nineteenth-century romantic friendships and the first all-women's colleges, progressing through the sexologists of the 1920s and the openness of the war years, on to the McCarthy era, the radical 1960s and 70s, and the more diversified 1980s and 90s, Lillian Faderman documents "the extent to which sexuality, and especially sexual categories, can be dependent upon a broad range of factors that are extraneous to 'sexual drive.' " Perhaps the most revolutionary and exciting thing about this history, beyond the very fact of its existence, is its ability to present lesbianism not only as a sexual orientation, but as a movement that has been both affected and defined by a constantly shifting economic, political, and cultural climate. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Erica Bauermeister

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