Penguin Book Of Lesbian Short Stories

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9780670851539: Penguin Book Of Lesbian Short Stories

An anthology representing the work of 33 women from Britain, Europe and the Americas. It ranges from 1897 to 1993, showing how women writers have explored in words what it is to be a lesbian. Featured writers include Orne Jewett, Woolf, Stein, Mansfield, Barnes and Winterson.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Showing the full range of fictional expression, this adventurous anthology opens with Sarah Orne Jewett's 1897 story, "Martha's Lady," a delicate yet impassioned evocation of a furtive lesbian love and closes with Jeanette Winterson's lyrical, uninhibited "The Poetics of Sex" (1993). Its 32 selections trace a historical pattern in lesbian experience as it moves from invisibility and ambivalence to greater self-acceptance. Many of the pieces are experimental, such as Kathy Acker's sardonic dream vision of heterosexual marriage, and Canadian Nicole Brossard's incantatory monologue meant to close the distance between the speaker, her mother, her daughter and her lover. Among the authors--lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual--are Margaret Atwood, Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, Radclyffe Hall, Katherine Mansfield, Colette, Anais Nin, Isak Dinesen, Monique Wittig, Sara Maitland and Pat Califia. Two pieces feature pictures: Alison Bechdel's comic strip "Serial Monogamy," whose disillusioned protagonist forces readers to reexamine set attitudes about lesbians and straights; and Djuna Barnes's 17th-century pastiche "Ladies Almanack" (1928), a daybook of the exploits of a much-in-demand hostess complete with woodcuts. Reynolds, who has written abiography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, enlarges the dimensions of the lesbian experience in this rewarding omnibus.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

The 33 stories here, one in comics format and three previously unpublished, constitute an interesting foray into lesbian writing of the last 100 years. There is little to quarrel with about the selected authors, who include names new and old that can't be ignored when lesbian and writer are used in the same sentence--Stein, Hall, Woolf, Rule, and (Dorothy) Allison, for instance. Surefire commercial sellers such as Pat Califia, Ana{‹}is Nin, and Jeannette (Sexing the Cherry) Winterson also appear. But one wonders about Margaret Atwood's "Cold-blooded"; editor Reynolds says it's about "politics and alienation," but there's little of the lesbian in its moth people from another planet. Such entries make the anthology seem hastily assembled. Some egregious interpretations and errors in Reynolds' introduction also disturb, and Reynolds' definition of lesbian writing as that which "exhibits, within the confines of the text itself, something which makes it distinctively about, or for, or out of lesbian experience" and her warning against assuming anyone "who writes on lesbian subjects must be herself a lesbian" seem to license the book's scattergun inclusiveness. Nevertheless, the volume belongs in most general collections. Marie Kuda

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