Title: The Literature of Lesbianism: A Historical Anthology from Ariosto to Stonewall
Author: Edited by Terry Castle
Publisher: Columbia University Press
From Renaissance love poems to twentieth-century novels, plays and short stories, The Literature of Lesbianism brings together hundreds of literary works on the subject of female homosexuality. This is not simply an anthology of lesbian writers; nor is it a compendium of positive or negative images of lesbian experience. Terry Castle explores the emergence and transformation of the idea of lesbianism: its conceptual origins, and how it has been transmitted, transformed, and collectively embellished over the past five centuries.
Both male and female authors are represented here, and they display an astonishing and often unpredictable range of attitudes. Some excoriate female same-sex love; some eulogize it. Some are salacious or satiric; others sympathetic and confessional. Beginning with an excerpt from Ariosto’s comic epic poem, Orlando Furioso, the anthology progresses chronologically through the next five centuries, presenting selections from Shakespeare, Aphra Behn, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Alexander Pope, the Marquis de Sade, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Dickinson, Henry James, Willa Cather, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Nella Larsen, Collette, Violette Leduc, Elizabeth Bishop, Jane Bowles, and many others.