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Title: A new framework for rethinking love between women: the development of lesbian narrative in Irish women’s writing, 1801 – 2017
Other Titles: The development of lesbian narrative in Irish women’s writing, 1801 – 2017
Authors: Charczun, Anna
Advisors: Spurlin, W
Lynch, C
Keywords: Male authors;Sexology;Poetry;Male homosexuality;Biology
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: Lesbian existence was more or less absent from the Irish public arena until the 1980s, when David Norris began the battle to decriminalise homosexual acts. Following that event, female writers produced a plethora of literatures featuring openly lesbian characters. However, the lesbian subject, expressed implicitly, existed on the peripheries of Irish fiction long before then. This study examines the development of Irish lesbian narrative between 1801 and 2017 based on stages of Vivienne Cass’s “Homosexual Identity Formation: A Theoretical Model” (1979). Beginning with the investigation of romantic friendships between women, A New Framework for Rethinking Love between Women looks closely at the historical antecedents preceding the emergence of lesbian desire in early-nineteenth-century literature, and later examines to what extent women’s performativity of female masculinity in selected fin-de-siècle writing can be read as nuanced references to lesbian passion. The thesis then examines a variety of narrational techniques to demonstrate the development of lesbian narrative in the early twentieth century. It investigates the narrative’s emphasis on lesbian continuum, and exemplifies adolescent lesbian characters “bracketing” heterosexually-centred narratives. As the focus of the analysis then shifts to post-war fiction, the project reveals the notion of lesbian existence in women’s prose, and discusses how postmodernism aided Irish female authors in writing texts in which lesbian love occupies pivotal spaces. With an advancement of lesbian politics at the end of the twentieth century, authors began to centralise lesbian characters and desire in an explicit manner. The concluding part of the thesis focuses on diasporic Irish lesbian writing from England, Canada, and Trinidad and Tobago. It demonstrates that, with the influences of globalisation, transnationalism, and transculturalism, the development of Irish lesbian fiction in diaspora represents another dimension of lesbian writing and lesbian politics.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University London
Appears in Collections:English and Creative Writing
Dept of Arts and Humanities Theses

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