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I thought I had this week's blog entry all written up, and then Monday morning rolled around and it turns out I didn't. This is the last article I'll be covering from Homosexuailty in French History and Culture, so I need to brainstorm what to move on to next. It probably makes sense to go back to the remaining journal articles that I downloaded from JSTOR back before the quarantine started. I really miss my trips to the UC Berkeley library, but it isn't like I lack books on my own shelves to fill the time until we're back to something resembling normal.

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 195 - Madame de Murat: Author of Fairy Tales, Lover of Women - transcript

(Originally aired 2021/02/20 - listen here)

In an era when men intrested in homosexual encounters were creating subcultures, meeting places, and social institutions such as "molly houses,"  there are vanishingly few indications that women with sapphic interests had anything similar. Except in the popular imagination. In fictional works such as L'Espion Anglois and in satirical political tracts, the image of an entire secret society of lesbians was developed. Was there any foundation of truth to these imagined lesbian sex clubs? Likely not on the scale depicted, though perhaps on a smaller more personal level.

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 194 - On the Shelf for February 2021 - Transcript

(Originally aired 2021/02/06 - listen here)

Welcome to On the Shelf for February 2021.

(Lightly adapted from the original twitter thread. My first draft included more detailed descriptions of the books, but I edited ruthlessly to make (most of) them fit into individual tweets.)

25 recommended texts from the Lesbian Historic Motif Project blog. This is in response to a twitter request for suggested reading on pre-20th century queer history. My specific specialty is on sapphic/lesbian history, though some of these works are broader in coverage.

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 193 - Fiction Special: A Soldier in the Army of Love by Diane Morrison - transcript

(Originally aired 2021/01/30 - listen here)

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.

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.


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