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Special Features Index  

Spotlight Autobiography: Lesbian and Bisexual Female
  Autobiography: Lesbian and Bisexual Female In the first century of its existence, Lesbian and Bisexual Female Autobiography moved from being coded to being outspoken. It is both wide-ranging and contradictory in the stories that it tells.  
  Dorothy Allison Dorothy Allison (b. 1949) writes novels that draw on her experiences growing up in South Carolina and focus on the sheer survival of her lesbian characters.  
  Margaret Anderson Margaret Anderson (1886-1973) is best known as editor of the influential early twentieth-century literary journal The Little Review. Anderson also published a frank lesbian novel and a three-volume autobiography. Her posthumously published novel is even more revealing than her autobiography.  
  Natalie Clifford Barney Natalie Clifford Barney (1876-1972) was an American-born expatriate poet, memoirist, and epigrammatist whose corpus of work varies in quality. Her memoirs and portraits are vivid, perceptive pieces that describe many of the gays and lesbians who frequented the literary salon she held in Paris for fifty years.  
  Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944) is a lesbian poet and novelist who continues to enjoy a productive career, but is still best known for her highly successful semi-autobiographical novel Rubyfruit Jungle (1973).  
  Michelle Cliff (b. 1946) writes prose and poetry that explores issues of race, class, and sexuality largely drawn from her own experience as a light-skinned Jamaican-born lesbian.  
  Coming Out Stories are so important to gay men and lesbians that they are a primary focus of much glbtq literature. In recent years, several collections of lesbian coming out narratives have appeared to an eagerly awaiting readership.  
  Hilda Doolittle Hilda Doolittle (1886-1961) was a bisexual poet and novelist who published under the initials H. D. Her poems and autobiographical prose works celebrate women's romantic relationships with each other.  
  Catalina de Erauso Catalina de Erauso (ca 1592-ca 1650), a seventeenth-century Basque woman who led the rough-and-ready life of a soldier, has been the subject of plays, novels, and films, some of which deny or obscure her lesbianism, others of which celebrate it. Erauso's claim to literary fame is her memoir, which was probably written between between 1624 and 1626, but was not published during her lifetime.  
  Janet Flanner Janet Flanner (1892-1978) was an expatriate American journalist, novelist, and translator who spent most of her adult life in Paris with her lover Solita Solano. Flanner's highly personal "Letter from Paris" column ran in the New Yorker magazine for almost fifty years.  
  Diana Frederics (pseudonym, fl. 1930s) is the pseudonym for an author whose real identity remains a mystery. Her only known book is Diana: A Strange Autobiography, published in 1939 by the Dial Press.  
  Elsa Gidlow (1898-1986), known to many as the "poet-warrior," was unabashedly visible as an independent woman, a lesbian, a writer, and a bohemian-anarchist at a time when such visibility was both unusual and potentially dangerous. She documented her life in an autobiography, Elsa, I Come With My Songs (1986).  
  Judy Grahn (b. 1940) has been an effective leader in the gay rights movement, and her identity as a lesbian and a feminist has infused all of her works, in both prose and poetry.  
  Doris Grumbach (b. 1918) is a writer whose novels, especially those based on the lives of actual people, treat homosexual relationships matter-of-factly as an integral part of the human landscape. Her first memoir and its sequel address issues related to aging and death.  
  Tove Jansson Tove Jansson (1914-2001) is best known for her series of children's books about the Moomin family of trolls and is considered a national treasure in Finland. She also wrote several semi-autobiographical works of fiction for adults.  
  Violette Leduc Violette Leduc (1907-1972) was a bisexual novelist and memoirist recognized for her astute psychological observations and dramatic chronicles of women's issues.  
  Anne Lister Anne Lister (1791-1840) recorded her romantic and sexual relationships with several women in encoded entries in her diaries between 1817 and 1840. Lister first developed the code she adopted so she could exchange love letters with an early lover, Eliza Raine.  
  Audre Lorde Audre Lorde (1934-1992) foregrounds the tension between telling a story faithful to one's own experience and writing against foundational "truths" in Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (1982).  
  Mary Meigs (1917-2002), an American-born painter who emigrated to Canada, is best known for her literary contributions and her feminist activism on behalf of elderly lesbians. Her autobiographical works include Lily Briscoe: A Self-Portrait (1981) and The Medusa Head (1983).  
  Kate Millet in 1970 Kate Millett (b. 1934) found that her autobiographical works were negatively received because she did not offer "uplifting" versions of lesbian experience.  
  Anais Nin Anaïs Nin (1903-1977) was a bisexual novelist who is best known for her sexually frank diaries and the erotica published after her death.  
  Minnie Bruce Pratt Minnie Bruce Pratt (b. 1946) is an award-winning author who has written moving and erotic poems and stories that explore sex and gender issues, as well as powerful essays that decry bigotry in its many forms. Some of her most noted poetry is autobiographical.  
  Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), who has aestheticized politics and politicized aesthetics, is America's most widely read lesbian poet. Her openness about her life and sexuality and the prodigious recognition her work has achieved have made her an important and very public lesbian-feminist poet.  
  Joanna Russ (b. 1937) is a science fiction writer and critic whose work is outspokenly lesbian and feminist. Her experience of coming out is the subject of On Strike Against God (1980), her only non-science fiction novel.  
  May Sarton May Sarton (1912-1996), who gradually revealed her lesbianism in her writing, worked successfully in poetry, the novel, essays, and the journal. Sarton's achievements in any of her chosen genres would assure her a place of respect in American letters.  
  Gertrude Stein Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) ruptures the assumption that autobiography's subject is the author in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933), a book in which Stein speaks in the voice of her lover.  
  Jeanette Winterson Jeanette Winterson (b. 1959) is a prize-winning novelist whose explorations of lesbian and gender issues have quickly gained a following not only among lesbian and gay readers but also among mainstream readers as well. Her first book, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (1985), is a fictionalized autobiography.  


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