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Lesbian Configurations by Renee C. Hoogland


Lesbian Configurations by Renee C. Hoogland

What constitutes a lesbian text? Can there be a distinctly lesbian voice and mode of cultural critique and analysis? What is its place in relation to feminist or gay theory? These are some of the questions Renee Hoogland addresses in Lesbian Configurations , a state of the field report that critically reassesses many recent developments in lesbian studies. Hoogland provides original readings of literary and cinematographic texts such as Basic Instinct and Bitter Moon , The Bell Jar and Friends and Relations , in order to trace a logic in the way lesbian identities are negotiated in Western culture. Hoogland uses The Colour Purple to question how a text can be defined as lesbian , and what that definition entails. She also investigates how female authors self-consciously posit lesbian narratives by employing strategies of disclosure and concealment in their work and discusses the cultural use of lesbian meanings: how they were encoded before Stonewall, and how the lesbian has recently been transformed from unspeakable to gradually acceptable in popular culture. Reading sexuality as much between the texts as through them, Lesbian Configurations provides a much-needed critical stock-taking and intervention in the field of lesbian studies.


Hoogland offers a detailed analysis of such literary works as Alice Walkers The Color Purple and Sylvia Plaths The Bell Jar as well as the contemporary Hollywood films Basic Instinct and Bitter Moon. She presents each chapter as a separate essay, blending Freudian psychoanalytic and contemporary feminist theories in her rigorous analysis of these works.

About the Author

Renee C. Hoogland is assistant professor of lesbian studies at the University of Nijmegen.

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Book Info

Publication date

7th January 1997


Renee C. Hoogland

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Columbia University Press


210 pages


Literary studies: from c 1900 -
Films, cinema



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