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Surpassing the love of men : romantic…

Surpassing the love of men : romantic friendship and love between women… (1981)

by Lillian Faderman

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605327,399 (3.65)6
A classic of its kind, this fascinating cultural history draws on everything from private correspondence to pornography to explore five hundred years of friendship and love between women. Surpassing the Love of Men throws a new light on shifting theories of female sexuality and the changing status of women over the centuries.… (more)
Title:Surpassing the love of men : romantic friendship and love between women from the Renaissance to the present
Authors:Lillian Faderman
Info:London : Junction Books, (no date).
Collections:Your library

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Surpassing the love of men : Romantic friendship and love between women from the Renaisannce to the present by Lillian Faderman (1981)



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I certainly took my time in reading this (over a year--oops), so the earlier sections have lost some of their original "oomf." That said, the discussions regarding historical relationships between women, specifically the idea of the romantic friendships, was fascinating and easily the best parts of the entire book. They were informative and well-researched, and full of information and ideas I'd never heard or thought of before.

In contrast, the latter parts that discuss second-wave feminism were odd and uncomfortable to read. There's blatant homo-, trans-, and bi-phobia throughout. It was moderately interesting in terms of learning about ideas that were central to second-wave feminism, but Faderman believed (believes?) that to be a true feminist meant one had to choose lesbianism and had to reject any and all male relationships (...though perhaps not familial relationships with the brothers and fathers? It's difficult to tell).

Overall, I do recommend "Surpassing the Love of Men." It was interesting and informative and, from what I've gleaned, a seminal part of second-wave feminism. However, I do wish I'd skipped, or perhaps just skimmed, the latter sections. ( )
  whatsmacksaid | Sep 21, 2018 |
A classic of feminism.
  AdocentynLibrary | Mar 19, 2015 |
I've been reading this book in bed before going to sleep for a couple of months and at times I've been all set to chuck it out of the window. While I'm sure the book was a significant piece of scholarship in 1981, it does feel more than a little dated now - not the least because we now have more sophisticated theories about gender and sexuality than those that were widespread at the end of the 1970s.

As the subheading indicates, Faderman is primarily interested in romantic friendship and love and often seems to go out of her way to emphasise that women did not have sex until the sexually obsessed twentieth century. I am exaggerating but as this aspect of her analysis kept bugging me all the way through the book, I can't really help it. I'm only a couple of pages into Emma Donoghue's Passions between Women and her approach is markedly different - she does not assume that women were quite as ignorant of the possibilities of love and passion between women as Faderman argues they were.

It was interesting to read this book but I did not get very much out of it. ( )
3 vote mari_reads | Aug 28, 2006 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lillian Fadermanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Mauceri, MichaelDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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"Your love was wonderful to me, passing the love of women."

David to Jonathan
2 Samuel, I,26
"I assure you, with a love "passing the Love of Men," that I am yours..."

Lucy to Harriot
William Hayley's The Young Widow, 1789
"Davidean friendship, emulation warm
Coy blossoms, perishing in courtly air,
Its vain parade, restraint, and irksome form,
Cold as the ice, tho' with the comets' glare,
By firmness won, by constancy secured,
Ye nobler pleasures, be ye long their meed...."

of Sarah Ponsonby and Eleanor Butler
Anna Seward's Poetical Works, 1810
To Phyllis for everything
First words
This book began as a study of Emily Dickinson's love poems and letters to Sue Gilbert, the woman who became her sister-in-law.

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Average: (3.65)
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