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Lesbian Lit: Brokeback For Babes

abstract:Male sexuality has been getting a lot of attention lately, so where does popular culture stand on female sexuality these days? Once upon a time, Anne Carson was an obscure academic with a small cult following. Eros the Bittersweet, the quirky academic treatise that marked her debut, was published by Princeton University Press in 1986.


June 07, 2006

Like "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and other films and television series focusing on sexuality, lesbians went mainstream when "The L Word," a successful Showtime series went big. I checked--the blog has 100,000 posts on a single topic line.  

Rumor has it "Eros" was the inspiration for the series. What exactly is in Anne's book?

"It is a remarkable piece of writing: a wittily epigrammatic analysis of the role of Eros in Greek culture. Carson marshals examples from Sappho, Plato, and lesser-known Greek poets, deftly explicating their vision of erotic love as temporary, contingent, and characterized by a thrilling sensation of lack... Well-received among classicists, Eros quickly percolated into the living rooms of literary essayists—perhaps in part because it offers a plausible and pleasingly intellectual framework for a post-marriage society. Carson was singled out as a bracingly original writer by figures like Harold Bloom, Susan Sontag, and Annie Dillard.

Then, in the mid-'90s, Carson (in her 40s) published two utterly assured books of poetry in quick succession—Plainwater and Glass, Irony and Godand arrived like Athena full-born on the scene of English-language poetry, intriguing readers with her riffs on television and historical esoterica. Bloom chose one of her poems for an anthology and suggested that other poets plead for a 'transfusion' of her wit," writes Slate Magazine.

Sexual Identity & Censorship

Are liberal values, mainstream media and the internet changing the way we view sexuality?

Remember when "Sons and Lovers" by D.H. Lawrence was banned and had to be printed in Paris, along with most of Joyce's work including, "Ulysses." The list of banned works of literature is long and rediculous from present standards. What are present standards?

Log onto the American Library Association's website and take a look at "Banned Books Week." It is so refreshing to see commentary and dialogue on censorship and freedom of choice.

See also Censorship and Challenges and Notable First Amendment Cases. Imagine how many more books might be challenged—and possibly banned or restricted—if librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country did not use Banned Books Week each year to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights [someone tell me the corolory in Canada] and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.

Not surprising sex takes a backseat to racial prejudice in the numbers of books that have been attempted to be banned. Who could think of banning Harper Lee's, "To Kill A Mockingbird"—one of my all time favorite books?

It is an interesting testimony to human nature that people like Anne Carson are re-hashing Greek literature and television series producers are basing mainstream entertainment on fundamental human behavior and drives.  As long as we maintain the right to use the channel changer an have the ability to purchase or put a book down, we will have succeeded.




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