Title

Claiming Lesbian History: The Romance Between Fact and Fiction

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-9-2015

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

Abstract

The contested field of lesbian history exists along a continuum, with undisputed evidence on one end and informed speculation on the other. Lesbian historical fiction extends the spectrum, envisioning the lives of lesbian pirates, war heroes, pioneers, bandits, and stock romantic characters, as well as the handful of protagonists examined here whose quests specifically highlight the difficulty and importance of researching the lesbian past. The genre blossomed in the 1980s, just as the Foucauldian insistence that homosexual identity did not exist before the late nineteenth century gained sway in the academy. The proliferation of lesbian historical fictions signals the growing desire for more thorough (if not completely factual) historical underpinnings of the burgeoning lesbian identities, communities, and politics set in motion in the 1970s.