Two Friends and Other 19th-Century American Lesbian Stories: By American Women Writers

Susan Koppelman, Author, Various, Author, Susan Koppelman, Editor
Susan Koppelman, Author, Various, Author, Susan Koppelman, Editor Plume Books $17 (256p) ISBN 978-0-452-01119-9
Reviewed on: 08/01/1994
Release date: 08/01/1994
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What is a lesbian story? The question is not academic; criticism of the traditional literary canon includes the charge that contemporary readers ascribe their own views to texts from other times and cultures. Koppelman, who has edited two other anthologies of short stories, acknowledges the problem, and instead of attempting to prove that these stories are lesbian, relies more heavily on the ``feel'' of stories that range from the explicit to inferentially lesbian. In her preface she notes, ``I recognize these stories as stories about women loving women in the variety of romantic ways that we wouldn't even have to struggle to define if we were talking about men and women loving each other.'' Koppelman provides the historical and literary context for 11 stories by Constance Fenimore Woolson, Octave Thanet, Mary E. Wilkins, Kate Chopin and Sarah Orne Jewett that were originally published in periodicals of their time. Entertaining in their own right, the works (largely mysteries, riddles or ghost stories) also disprove any continued skepticism about the quality of works by women or about women's relationships of this period. (Sept.)
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