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Comparative Sapphism

Sharon Marcus

Title:
Comparative Sapphism
Author(s):
Marcus, Sharon
Date:
Type:
Chapters (layout features)
Department(s):
English and Comparative Literature
Persistent URL:
Book/Journal Title:
The Literary Channel: The Inter-National Invention of the Novel
Book Author:
Cohen, Margaret
Dever, Carolyn
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publisher Location:
Princeton
Abstract:
Comparative studies of British and French literature have paid little attention to sapphism even though critics have long defined the difference between the two national literatures as sexual, particularly with respect to the novel. For most comparatists the sexual difference between nineteenth-century British and French literature is exclusively heterosexual: against the staid British novel of courtship throbs the French novel of adultery. But the lack of any British counterpart to the sapphism that thrived in France shows that the difference between the two literatures is also homosexual. With respect to heterosexuality, nineteenth-century French and British novels offer a contrast between two kinds of presence; with respect to sapphism, the contrast is between presence and absence. It would thus seem that the critic who compares nineteenth-century French and British sapphism is in the paradoxical position of comparing something to nothing.
Subject(s):
French literature
British literature
Comparative literature
Gay and lesbian studies
Sexual minorities
Women's studies
Item views
525
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Suggested Citation:
Sharon Marcus, , Comparative Sapphism, Columbia University Academic Commons, .

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