Title Page

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. ix

read more

Preface

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xi-xvii

Writing an academic book is a strange project. When people who do not work in the academy hear that I am writing a book, they usually think it is a novel. When I explain that it is not a novel, but a book about books, they look at me as if to say, “Why would anybody want to do that?” I often evade the issue by saying that I have to do it to keep my job. But the truth is that we...

read more

Introduction: In/visible Differences

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-20

Demanding visibility has been one of the principles of late-twentieth- century identity politics, and flaunting visibility has become one of its tactics. If silence equals death, invisibility is nonexistence. To be invisible is to be seen but not heard, or to be erased entirely—to be absent from cultural consciousness. In the face...

read more

Chapter One: Martyred Butches and Impossible Femmes: Radclyffe Hall and the Modern Lesbian

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 21-57

Since its publication in 1928, Radclyffe Hall’s novel The Well of Loneliness has provoked praise and condemnation, identification and denial for generations of lesbian readers. Twenty years of feminist criticism have brought no resolution to questions about the novel’s status within the lesbian literary tradition....

read more

Chapter Two: Debutante in Harlem: Blair Niles’s Strange Brother

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 58-102

Nightclubs, cabarets, chitterlings, the blues, the “real Harlem.” In the 1920s white people went to Harlem in search of the exotic and the primitive. The “soul” of black culture was an antidote to white society’s perception of itself as overcivilized. Strange Brother, a white-authored Harlem Renaissance novel published...

read more

Chapter Three: Lesbian Pulp in Black and White

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 103-138

Though Strange Brother was one of many gay-themed novels to appear during the early 1930s, it was not until the mid-1950s that the exploding paperback industry made lesbian novels available to a large number of readers. Cover blurbs for titles such as Twilight Lovers (1964), Stranger on Lesbos (1960), and...

read more

Chapter Four: Strategies of Identification in Three Narratives of Female Development

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 139-181

During the 1980s, lesbian criticism began to theorize diversity in earnest. In ground-breaking texts such as This Bridge Called My Back: Radical Writings by Women of Color (1981), Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology (1983), Cherríe Moraga’s Loving in...

read more

Chapter Five: How to Recognize a Lesbian: The Cultural Politics of Looking Like What You Are

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 182-210

In retrospect, my own entrance into the lesbian community was remarkable more for the sense of disorientation it produced than for a strong sense of identification. That would occur and recur later, and my identifications with other women are as fraught with issues of desire, idealization, and abjection as any one else’s...

read more

Epilogue

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 211-214

This book began with a conversation about the invisibility of the feminine lesbian. As I moved to closure on the project, I found myself having a slightly different conversation—a conversation about a term that has come into fairly common parlance, and that tells us something about the nature of the femme’s increased...

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 215-249

Works Cited

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 251-265

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 267-279

read more

About the Author

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 281

Lisa Walker is assistant professor of English at the University of...