By Julie Abraham

"Are women necessary?" asks Julie Abraham during this provocative examine of 20th-century lesbian writing. studying the improvement of lesbian writing in English around the twentieth Century, Abraham identifies a shift from this "romance" version to a extra complex "history" version. the good modernists, Woolf and Stein, in addition to the preferred writers of succeeding generations, like Mary Renault, regarded to historic narratives, growing an immense swap within the means the "lesbian tale" is outfitted. the chances in lesbian writing, from the early romance plots via to the post-1960s liberation stream experiments, are Abraham's geography. inside of it, she bargains specified readings of significant writers in different genres, from excessive sleek to pulp, either British and American.

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He asks, using gender as a means of concluding the attack he had begun earlier on the artistic value of everything connected with this play (139). As they are entering the 18 ARE GIRLS NECESSARY? theater and being seated, she responds to his question, obscuring the fact that they are there because she wants to see Fayne, and Fayne, wanting to see her, has sent tickets: "I don't know who they are. I mean I only know who one is. I mean that girl I spoke to is Pygmalion. I met her at a party. A sort of hot day when the dust was so hot .

The challenge that Fayne and Hermione's love for her repre- 10 ARE GIRLS NECESSARY? sen ted has been reincorporated into the heterosexual plot, and the formula of the lesbian novel completed with the punishment of Hermione's deviant desire. Thirty years after H. D. completed HERmione, Patricia Highsmith based The Price of Salt on a similar triangulation of the heterosexual plot, though the triangles have been multiplied and even inverted. Highsmith's protagonist, Therese, is, like Hermione, a young woman at the point of establishing her adult life.

7 Bonnie Zimmerman accedes to this pattern when she declares that "Fiction is a particularly useful medium" for the representation of lesbianism, because "of all literary forms, [it] makes the most complex and detailed use of historical events and social discourse.... novelists give the appearance of reality. . Novels can show us as we were, as we are, and as we would like to be" (2). But the desire to see the lesbian novel as authentic pre-dates this critical literature. The lesbian novel's dependence on a formula, and the limits of that formula, have been obscured and the problematic effects of those limits exacerbated by the truth claims routinely made on behalf of lesbian novels.

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