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A Fragile Union: New & Selected Writings by…

A Fragile Union: New & Selected Writings

by Joan Nestle

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 157344040X, Paperback)

A rich new collection by poet, historian, and lesbian activist Joan Nestle, ranging from meditations on her femme identity to arguments for a diversified college curriculum. Cofounder of the Lesbian Herstory Archives, which were housed for 20 years in her New York apartment, Nestle has made no clear division between her erotic and her political writings, a stance that has irritated many feminists. The archive itself is a ceaseless, passionate response to the first time that Nestle ever tried to "find out about" herself by writing a high school paper on homosexuality. She began her research at the New York Public Library, and in the card catalog "found the word Homosexual, followed by a dash and the words, see Deviancy, and next to this, see Pathology, with suggested subcategories of prisons and mental institutions." Her inclusive sensibilities have informed the acquisition policies of the archive, which has collected everything from pulp novels of the 1940s and 1950s to the diary of a lesbian prostitute to the pasties of a lesbian stripper. "If we ask decorous questions of history," Nestle argues, "we will get a genteel history." Essential reading in the social history of postwar America and the particular struggles of lesbians to be included in that history. --Regina Marler

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:39 -0400)

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