“Are girls necessary?” asks Julie Abraham in this provocative study of 20th-century lesbian writing.
Examining the development of lesbian writing in English across the 20th Century, Abraham identifies a shift from this “romance” model to a more complicated “history” model. The great modernists, Woolf and Stein, as well as the popular writers of succeeding generations, like Mary Renault, looked to historical narratives, creating an important change in the way the “lesbian story” is built.
The possibilities in lesbian writing, from the early romance plots through to the post-1960s liberation movement experiments, are Abraham’s geography. Within it, she offers detailed readings of major writers in several genres, from high modern to pulp, both British and American.