Women Who Loved Women, 1778-1928
Vicinus also considers the nineteenth-century roots of such contemporary issues as homosexual self-hatred, female masculinity, and sadomasochistic desire. Drawing upon diaries, letters, and other archival sources, she brings to life a variety of well known and historically less recognized women, ranging from the predatory Ann Lister, who documented her sexual activities in code; to Mary Benson, the wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury; to the coterie of wealthy Anglo-American lesbians living in Paris.
In vivid and colorful prose, Intimate Friends offers a remarkable picture of women navigating the uncharted territory of same-sex desire.
PART I HUSBAND-WIFE COUPLING
One "A Scheme of Romantic Friendship":
Love and Same-Sex Marriage
Two "Emancipated Females": The Rome Community
PART II QUEER RELATIONSHIPS
Three "They Venture to Share the Same Bed": Possible Impossibilities
Four "The Gift of Love": Religion and Lesbian Love
PART III CROSS-AGE AND CROSSED LOVE
Five "A Strenuous Pleasure": Daughter-Mother Love
Six "Passion...Immense and Unrestrained": Destructive Desires
PART IV MODERNIST REFASHIONINGS
Seven "Familiar Misquotation": Sapphic Cross-Dressing
Eight "A Love of Domination": THe Mannish Invert and Sexual Danger
Conclusion: Beyond the Family Metaphor
Appendix: The Principal Intimate Friends
"[Vicinus produces] an authoritative synthesis that brings these lives, well-known to scholars, to the attention of a wider audience. More inviting than the usual scholarly monograph, the book includes twenty-four fascinating illustrations and an appendix giving a brief summary of the lives and loves Vicinus discusses. And the stories are jewels of eccentric lesbian lore."