Are Girls Necessary?: Lesbian Writing and Modern Histories by Julie Abraham

By Julie Abraham

"Are women necessary?" asks Julie Abraham during this provocative learn of 20th-century lesbian writing. studying the advance of lesbian writing in English around the twentieth Century, Abraham identifies a shift from this "romance" version to a extra complex "history" version. the nice modernists, Woolf and Stein, in addition to the preferred writers of succeeding generations, like Mary Renault, seemed to old narratives, growing an immense 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 circulate experiments, are Abraham's geography. inside of it, she deals certain readings of significant writers in different genres, from excessive glossy to pulp, either British and American.

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D. elaborates on the contradiction between these two messages: "Obeying their orders? Whose orders? I have been almost faithful. In order to be faithful I will forego faith, I will creep back into the shell in order to emerge full fledged, a bird, a phoenix. I will creep back now in order to creep out later ... tell the Lacadaemonians that we lie here obeying their orders" (221). If the authority that the orders of the Lacadaemonians represent is the authority of convention, lesbian faith can be kept only behind the appearance of obedience to the rule of the heterosexual plot.

139) The passage ends here, with Hermione's decision, a decision with literary as well as sexual and social consequences. " Hermione's exchange with George completes her education as a writer. The implication is that the "form step[ping] forward," the figure Hermione will be watching as she placates "all the Georges" with conversational conventions, is Fayne (or another woman). But that is not spelled out: there is, instead, ellipsis. Hermione's decision is already the basis of the text, which suggests that Hermione the writer should be understood as the writer of this text.

The heterosexual plot H. D. has invoked must end with some form of marriage, some heterosexual relation (or death): Fayne betrays Hermione with George. George's promise to Fayne is identical to his promise to Hermione, the promise of normality—the security of the plot—as Fayne admits, "George said that I was merely human, that I wanted love. . that I wasn't so odd really" (185-186). This form of closure ensures the hegemony of the heterosexual plot. All of Payne's responses to Hermione are put in doubt—overshadowed by a retrospectively "conventional" explanation, a desire for George that led her to cultivate George's affianced.

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