Browsing: July-August 2020

July-August 2020

Blog Posts

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            There are discussions of beauty and art here, including Wilde’s concern that art should not raise nature on high (reminiscent of J. D. McClatchy’s view that nature was an uncongenial subject for poetry, suitable only as a backdrop for human issues). One of the best is a revisit to Crane’s “The Bridge,” in which the phrase “Appalachian Spring” appears, the source for the title of Aaron Copland’s ballet score (courtesy of Martha Graham).

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The Comics of Alison Bechdel: From the Outside In, edited by Janine Utell, contains essays by sixteen scholars in the fields of comics studies, gender studies, and popular culture. Bechdel, who lives in Vermont with her wife, artist Holly Rae Taylor, was awarded a Mac-Arthur Fellowship in 2014. This is the first book to focus entirely on scholarship about her major works: Dykes to Watch Out For, Fun Home, and Are You My Mother?

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No Modernism without Lesbians is important for 2020 because it rips apart the prevailing patriarchal model. What Souhami calls for is abandoning the Modernist canon and rebuilding it one lesbian at a time to create a new, inclusive, 21st-century model. This project will send readers back, not only to a cast of characters that Souhami has spent her life compiling, but to works of others writing about lesbians and their role in supporting and advancing the arts.

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So, was Calamity Jane a lesbian, or what we would call gender fluid, or something else altogether? In light of all the other tall tales and outright lies that were perpetuated by and about her, that question may never be answered.

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ANNA HOWARD SHAW (1847–1919) aptly titled her autobiography The Story of a Pioneer because she was the consummate trailblazer. A poor immigrant, a frontier settler, an ordained female minister, a self-made woman in an age of self-made men, a renowned feminist orator and voting rights activist, she was also a lesbian whose orientation was hidden in plain sight. …

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            At first glance, Wilde and Doyle seem the quintessential literary odd couple: the literary æsthete, trailing clouds of French décadence, and the stereotypical Victorian man: a hearty cricket-playing defender of the British Empire, opponent of women’s suffrage, and creator of the hyper-rationalist Sherlock Holmes. Other than sharing hansom cabs and impressionistic fog-shrouded streets dimly lit by gas lamps, the worlds of Dorian Gray and Sherlock Holmes could scarcely have been more different. And yet …

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FOUR-TIME Tony-Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally (1938–2020) died on March 24th at his winter home in Sarasota, Florida, an early casualty of Covid-19. His death followed a stream of recent honors …

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WIDELY acknowledged as the cofounder, with Del Martin, of the first lesbian organization in the U.S., the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB), Phyllis Lyon died of natural causes in San Francisco on April 9, 2020, at the age of 95. …

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