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Awfully Devoted Women: Lesbian Lives in Canada, 1900-65 by Cameron Duder

By Cameron Duder

The lives of lesbians who grew up ahead of 1965 stay cloaked in secret. Historians have illuminated the worlds of upper-middle-class "romantic associates" and working-class butch and femme ladies who frequented lesbian bars within the ’50s and ’60s. nearly all of lesbians, besides the fact that, have been lower-middle-class girls who concealed their sexual id through accomplishing discreet social and sexual relationships.

Drawing on correspondence, interviews, journals, and newspaper articles, Awfully committed Women deals a nuanced portrait of the lives of middle-class lesbians within the many years ahead of the homosexual rights circulation in English-Canada. bills and explorations of those women’s sexual practices, suggestions on same-sex wish, and relatives with family and friends unveil an international of personal relationships, condo events, and discreet social networks. This intimate research of the lives of ladies compelled to like in mystery not just demanding situations the concept lesbian relationships long ago have been asexual, it additionally finds the braveness it took for girls to discover hope in an period once they have been speculated to recognize little approximately sexuality.

Awfully dedicated Women is the 1st book-length learn of lesbian sexuality, relationships, and neighborhood in Canada earlier than 1965. it is going to be of curiosity to scholars and practitioners of Canadian background and women’s stories and to somebody attracted to the heritage of sexuality.

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Example text

When Helen remarked that “it must be nice to have someone to whom it mattered whether you were there or not,” Bud said that she thought it was. “Then she said something about you and me,” Bud wrote to Frieda: That we hit it off quite well, and I found that all I could do was agree. I simply couldn’t say more or talk about you at all; because she wouldn’t understand and it seemed so indecent; although I had said quite a lot about you to the nice Miss Brown coming over on the boat. 56 Returning to Canada to visit Frieda in 1926, Bud wrote, “I’m so thrilled at everything I’m nearly in a fit.

After being turned down by several reputable publishers because of the book’s theme, Hall was finally successful in negotiating a contract with Cape for the book to be published with packaging that would ensure its being taken seriously. Despite Havelock Ellis’s endorsement of the book, and several positive reviews, the British Home Secretary demanded its withdrawal. Subsequently, the publishers of the book and the owners of the premises where copies were held were brought to trial. 18 In the United States, The Well of Loneliness was prosecuted in 1929 but was acquitted after a successful defence.

Their letters also reveal the presence, on both sides, of subjectivity based on same-sex desire in their awareness of their difference from other women, their resistance to societal attitudes toward relationships between women, and their passionate commitment to a long-term relationship. The two women constantly flatter each other, Bud being the more expressive of the two in this regard. Writing to Frieda for her birthday in 1925, for example, Bud said, “My dear – This carries my best wishes for to-morrow and all my love to you.

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