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It's entirely coincidental that I'm covering this article on "The Italian Taste" (i.e., homosexuality) in late 18th century France right after airing the podcast on Anne Lister's courtship strategies that included her slang term "going to Italy" for engaging in sexual relations with women. It was fairly common for historic cultues to attribute either the practice or the origins of homosexual relations to some other neighboring culture. The English tended to view France as the origin of non-normative sexual practices, while France looked to Italy.

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 192 - Anne Lister’s Courtship Scripts - transcript

(Originally aired 2021/01/16 - listen here)

History is littered with women-loving-women whose biographies would make excellent inspiration for dramatic interpretation. Not all of the women in question would be comfortable neighbors. The Countess de Murat was certainly a ... ahem ... colorful character, no matter whose opinion you consult. What this article doesn't touch on (perhaps because it assumes the reader is already familiar with her) is that de Murat participated in the late 17th century Parisian salons that created the vogue for literary fairy tales. Close to 20 fairy tales by her were published around 1700.

I waver between thinking that each period I read about it the absolutely most fascinating one with regard to gender and sexuality, and thinking that the period immediately before the one I'm reading about is. But every time I read articles about the 17th century (especially England or France, but let's be honest: that's where the publications skew) I come back to the idea that it was a fascinatingly queer era.

This is the third year that I’ve taking a statistical look at the state of the sapphic historical publishing, based on the new book listings included in the podcast, as well as my database of earlier publications.

This finishes up Vicinus, just barely in time to complete it this year. (I need to get back to sticking to my LHMP-Monday thing.) I'm going through another phase of "why am I doing this? who cares?" which means I need to get back to blogging things that are fun for me, rather than having some grand plan. I hope 2021 brings you better things than this past year has. For me? At the moment I'll settle for 2021 bringing me lots of great submissions for the podcast fiction series. (Submissions open tomorrow!)

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 191 - On the Shelf for January 2021 - Transcript

(Originally aired 2021/01/02 - listen here)

Welcome to On the Shelf for January 2021. The New Year is most often thought of as a time for fresh starts, new beginnings, and revising one’s path in life. This year, it feels like we’re all still in the middle of the awfulness and it will still be a while before change will come. But for this podcast, at least, this month marks a shift in gears and some fresh directions.

When browsing through the history of women who love women, there are certain confluences of time, place, and people that cry out to be mined for their fictional potential. Get enough women of the right sort together in the same place, and you have a great setting for your own invented characters, who can borrow bits and pieces of real lives and inherit their historicity. The Paris of Natalie Clifford Barney, Renée Vivien, Colette, Vita Sackville-West, Radclyffe Hall, Liane de Pougy, and all the rest is just such a place and time. Invent yourself a devil-may-care heiress.

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 190 - So You’re Writing a Sapphic Historical Romance: Questions to Consider - transcript

(Originally aired 2020/12/26 - listen here)


I'm going to confess that Vicinus's Intimate Friends is becoming a bit of a slog. (Did you notice I failed to get a blog up last week?) The material is becoming more and more literary critisicm and less biography. And there's a fair amount of psychological analysis that feels at odds with the historic context of the subjects. Or maybe I'm just going through a reading slump. Two more chapters. And then maybe I'll throw out my plans for the next publication and hunt through my shelves for something I can get excited about.


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