Intimate Friends: Women Who Loved Women, 1778-1928

Paperback | May 1, 2006

byMartha Vicinus

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Intimate Friends explores the fascinating history of the erotic friendships of educated English and American women over the 150-year period leading up to the 1928 publication of Radclyffe Hall’s landmark novel, The Well of Loneliness. Distinguished scholar Martha Vicinus explores all-female communities, liaisons between younger and older women, the female rake, and even mother-daughter affection. Women, she reveals, drew upon a rich religious vocabulary to describe elusive and complex erotic feelings. 

Drawing upon diaries, letters, and other archival sources, Vicinus 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.

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Intimate Friends explores the fascinating history of the erotic friendships of educated English and American women over the 150-year period leading up to the 1928 publication of Radclyffe Hall’s landmark novel, The Well of Loneliness. Distinguished scholar Martha Vicinus explores all-female communities, liaisons between younger and old...

From the Jacket

Intimate Friends offers a fascinating look at the erotic friendships of educated English and American women over a 150-year period, culminating in the 1928 publication of The Well of Loneliness, Radclyffe Hall's scandalous novel of lesbian love. Martha Vicinus explores all-female communities, husband-wife couples, liaisons between youn...

Martha Vicinus is the Eliza M. Mosher Distinguished University Professor of English, Women’s Studies, and History at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is the author or editor of numerous works, including Hidden from History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past; Lesbian Subjects: A Feminist Studies Reader; and Independent Women...

other books by Martha Vicinus

Format:PaperbackDimensions:344 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.2 inPublished:May 1, 2006Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226855643

ISBN - 13:9780226855646

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction
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
Notes
Selected Bibliography
Index