PDF Rebecca Jennings Æ Æ A Lesbian History of Britain Love and Sex Between Women

Drawing on a wide range of historical sources court records newspaper reports medical records novels oral histories and personal papers A Lesbian History of Britain presents the extraordinary history of lesbian experience in Britain Covering landmark moments and well known personalities such as Radclyffe Hall and the publication and banning of her lesbian novel The Well of Loneliness but also examining the lives and experiences of ordinary women it brings both variety and nuance to their shared history In doing so it also explores cultural representations of and changing attitudes to female same sex desire in BritainThe narrative is arranged chronologically and begins with the accounts of a number of women in the 18th century who passed themselves off as men The C18th C19th saw 'Romantic Friendships' between women and later the emergence of a science of sexuality and the concept of the female 'sexual invert'' At the same time 'New Women' were pursuing independent careers a self confidence reflected in the publication of a number of novels explicitly about lesbian experience The 20s and 30s were characterised by parliamentary debates on lesbianism court cases and scandals though with two world wars lesbian experiences were already changing and a newly vibrant lesbian 'scene' centred on bars and night clubs was emerging supported by a growing number of lesbian oriented magazines and societies The contemporary period has been marked by political movements and campaigns in which lesbians have been active and increasingly vocal debates surrounding the 'sex wars'

10 thoughts on “A Lesbian History of Britain Love and Sex Between Women Since 1500

  1. says:

    This here is some really great history There's fantastic source material yes right back from the 1500s but importantly there's excellent interpretation that is sensitive to different cultures time periods class and race differences Yay for no lesbian revisionism Yay for being actively interested in how people have lived their lives and not overly fixated on whether they were or weren't lesbiansThe attention to detail is really good at disrupting traditional narratives about the formation of lesbian identities too For example when Jennings is discussing the early sexologists she rexamines the idea of their influence by looking at who was really reading them and how available their ideas were to women at the timeOh plus there's great early porn excerpts and just a whole lot of gemsI'm gonna be reading this again for sure

  2. says:

    Not wildly impressed very much the Usual Suspects nothing new well not new to me it might be revelatory for some a few nit picky errors of fact

  3. says:

    As a book for someone new to lesbian history it is a really interesting read However it felt that nearly half the book was based in the later 20th Century and was heavily focused around magazine culture I would highly reccomend this book though as it begins in the 1500s if I remember correctly and discusses various approaches to historical research which aid in exploring LGBT history

  4. says:

    This is a pretty fascinating read about lesbians through history in BritainI learnt a ton of stuff from this book

  5. says:

    This book contained some interesting anecdotes and stories especially in the earlier chapters but I generally found it quite disappointing Despite briefly discussing theoretical frameworks for gay history in the introduction Jennings does not explicitly locate the book within them In general the book is of an introduction and a non analytical synthesis that a work in its own right It does not critically analyse most of the sources it quotes particularly irritating in the case of cultural and literary representations of lesbianism of which there are many and which are not always related to possible or actual real life experiences I tend to follow Bennett in being interested in not straight women who lived than poems plays or novels often written by men mentioning lesbianismOther criticisms which come to mind include 1 an hugely late moderncontemporary focus 5 out of 10 chapters deal exclusively with the twentieth century 2 inclusion of material which I considered general women's historyhistory of sexuality stuff than homosexual and 3 little interest in how to decide what to include in 'a lesbian history' in general surely an important question even if a difficult one to answer

  6. says:

    I used this book heavily in my dissertation It is honestly such a great insight into lesbian culture through out the recorded history of Britain Because it is a small educational book I will probably start reading other historical sexuality books soon but this has been a great start for me When some money comes into my bank I will buy a copy and send this copy back to the library

  7. says:

    Rather overfocused on 1500 1930 really and also missing out stuff about trans and bi peoplebut I'm willing to grant a bit of leeway considering that the author needed to keep a narrow scope