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 circulateda broadsheet at U.S. gay pride parades seeking to incite antiwar activismamong participants. “When World War I broke out,” it reads in part, “gayand trans movement leaders backed their own [nation’s] rulers in thatbloody inter-imperialist war and it derailed their struggle.”1 In 1928, an...
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 hisseven-volume Studies in the Psychology of Sex, England was in the throes ofcultural, imperial, and gendered transformations. Almost forty years afterthe publication of On the Origin of Species, amid widespread Malthusianand eugenic appropriations of Darwin’s work; twelve years following the...
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 thejournal the Nineteenth Century. In this piece, she characterizes bourgeoiswomen who leave the home and domestic sphere for the public sphere ofpolitics as poor eugenic subjects. They have not “bred true” and they are“wild,” masculine, and socially abnormal. Comparing the cultural mascu -...
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 promot-ing a conservative suﬀrage sexuality, renegade groups of British male andfemale advocates of women’s liberation were meeting, writing, and produc-ing very diﬀerent versions of feminist sexual representations.1 In the 1910s,birth control, free love, and male homosexuality appeared frequently as...
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 thecountry expected humiliating defeat at the hands of Germany, two judicialevents raised rhetorical concern over female sexual representation. In oneinstance, a novel by pacifist Rose Allatini was quickly and relatively quietlybanned under the Defense of the Realm Act (DORA). Written under the...
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 Extra -ordinary Women, entitled “The Vulgarity of Lesbianism.” In the intro-duction, I pair the review with Leslie Feinberg’s 2001 antiwar polemic toillustrate 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:...
Afterword: Drag King Dreams Deferred
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Citizen, Invert, Queer traces the emergence of coherent public represen-tations of female homosexuality in early twentieth-century British publicculture. I argue that discourses of imperialism, eugenics, and gendered cit-izenship profoundly shaped the emergent representations of female sexual-ity in general, and homosexuality in specific. Contrary to prior histories of...
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I could not have completed this book without the support of numer-ous colleagues, comrades, and institutions. First, warm thanks to RichardMorrison at the University of Minnesota Press, an ardent advocate for thisproject from very early stages. With Adam Brunner, Tammy Zambo, AliciaSellheim, and Laura Westlund, he shepherded the manuscript through the...
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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