The "hour of pink twilight": Lesbian Poetics and Queer Encounters on the Fin-de-siècle Street

June 2009
Victorian Studies;Summer2009, Vol. 51 Issue 4, p687
Academic Journal
This essay examines the cultural representation of women's encounters on the fin-de-siècle street and, in particular, the uncertainties that clustered around the possibilities of mutual, or one-sided, same-sex desire accompanying such meetings. It argues, through an examination of lyric poetry, paintings, and short fiction, for the usefulness of twilight--a time of shadowy ambiguity--as a trope to suggest these uncertainties. More than this, it maintains that the lyric and the developing genre of the short story were modes ideally suited to an invocation of the fluid, the uncertain, and the unnamable. This argument is advanced through a close reading of Charlotte Mew's strange short story "Passed," which is read as representative of a transitional moment in lesbian literary history.


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