Citizen, Invert, Queer
Lesbianism and War in Early Twentieth-Century Britain
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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Introduction: Queer Nationalisms
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In June 2002, transgender author and activist Leslie Feinberg circulated a broadsheet at U.S. gay pride parades seeking to incite antiwar activism among participants. “When World War I broke out,” it reads in part, “gay and trans movement leaders backed their own [nation’s] rulers in that bloody inter-imperialist war and it derailed their struggle.”1 ...
1. Imperialist Classifications: Sexology, Decadence, and New Women in the 1890s
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In 1897, when Havelock Ellis published Sexual Inversion, the first of his seven-volume Studies in the Psychology of Sex, England was in the throes of cultural, imperial, and gendered transformations. Almost forty years after the publication of On the Origin of Species, amid widespread Malthusian and eugenic appropriations of Darwin’s work; twelve years following the criminalization of “gross indecencies” between ...
2. Public Women, Social Inversion: The Women’s Suffrage Debates
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In 1891, Eliza Lynn Linton penned a vehemently antisuffrage article for the journal the Nineteenth Century. In this piece, she characterizes bourgeois women who leave the home and domestic sphere for the public sphere of politics as poor eugenic subjects. ...
3. “A More Splendid Citizenship”: Prewar Feminism, Eugenics, and Sex Radicals
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At the same time that moderate and militant suffrage leaders were promoting a conservative suffrage sexuality, renegade groups of British male and female advocates of women’s liberation were meeting, writing, and producing very different versions of feminist sexual representations.1 In the 1910s, birth control, free love, and male homosexuality appeared frequently as topics alongside women’s suffrage in the pages of the Freewoman. ...
4. Around 1918: Gender Deviance, Wartime Nationalism, and Sexual Inversion on the Home Front
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In the spring of 1918, as Britain’s military forces were in retreat and the country expected humiliating defeat at the hands of Germany, two judicial events raised rhetorical concern over female sexual representation. In one instance, a novel by pacifist Rose Allatini was quickly and relatively quietly banned under the Defense of the Realm Act (DORA). ...
5. Boy-Girls and Girl-Boys: Postwar Lesbian Literary Representations
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This book begins with a 1928 review of Compton Mackenzie’s novel Extraordinary Women, entitled “The Vulgarity of Lesbianism.” In the introduction, I pair the review with Leslie Feinberg’s 2001 antiwar polemic to illustrate two twentieth-century instances in which gender and sexual varia - tion are linked to the Great War. Yet the 1928 review does other work as well: it draws discourses of nationalism, gender, and sexuality together with those of sexology, literary value, and women’s suffrage in the production ...
Afterword: Drag King Dreams Deferred
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Citizen, Invert, Queer traces the emergence of coherent public representations of female homosexuality in early twentieth-century British public culture. I argue that discourses of imperialism, eugenics, and gendered citizenship profoundly shaped the emergent representations of female sexuality in general, and homosexuality in specific. Contrary to prior histories of British lesbian subjectivity that privilege medical models of homosexuality, ...
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I could not have completed this book without the support of numerous colleagues, comrades, and institutions. First, warm thanks to Richard Morrison at the University of Minnesota Press, an ardent advocate for this project from very early stages. ...
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About the Author
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DEBORAH COHLER is associate professor of women and gender studies at San Francisco ...
Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2010