Sapphistries: A Global History of Love Between Women

Leila J. Rupp


Sapphistries: A Global History of Love Between Women

Sapphistries: A Global History of Love Between Women

  • Title: Sapphistries: A Global History of Love Between Women
  • Author: Leila J. Rupp
  • ISBN: 9780814777268
  • Page: 475
  • Format: Paperback



From the ancient poet Sappho to tombois in contemporary Indonesia, women throughout history and around the globe have desired, loved, and had sex with other women In beautiful prose, Sapphistries tells their stories, capturing the multitude of ways that diverse societies have shaped female same sex sexuality across time and place.Leila J Rupp reveals how, from the timeFrom the ancient poet Sappho to tombois in contemporary Indonesia, women throughout history and around the globe have desired, loved, and had sex with other women In beautiful prose, Sapphistries tells their stories, capturing the multitude of ways that diverse societies have shaped female same sex sexuality across time and place.Leila J Rupp reveals how, from the time of the very earliest societies, the possibility of love between women has been known, even when it is feared, ignored, or denied We hear women in the sex segregated spaces of convents and harems whispering words of love We see women beginning to find each other on the streets of London and Amsterdam, in the aristocratic circles of Paris, in the factories of Shanghai We find women s desire and love for women meeting the light of day as Japanese schoolgirls fall in love, and lesbian bars and clubs spread from 1920s Berlin to 1950s Buffalo And we encounter a world of difference in the twenty first century, as transnational concepts and lesbian identities meet local understandings of how two women might love each other.Giving voice to words from the mouths and pens of women, and from men s prohibitions, reports, literature, art, imaginings, pornography, and court cases, Rupp also creatively employs fiction to imagine possibilities when there is no historical evidence Sapphistries combines lyrical narrative with meticulous historical research, providing an eminently readable and uniquely sweeping story of desire, love, and sex between women around the globe from the beginning of time to the present.


Recent Comments "Sapphistries: A Global History of Love Between Women"

I don't usually write reviews here, but it's a little disturbing to me that no one else is discussing the glaring problems in this book. Rupp markets Sapphistries as a book about "love between women", but her choices of who to include in (and exclude from) her research make it clear that what she really means is "love between any two people with vaginas". A good portion of Rupp's accounts of women loving women are, in fact, people assigned female who chose to present as men, took on he/him prono [...]

I feel a little badly giving this book only two stars because it accomplished what it sought out to do, but I also feel there were several glaring omissions in content that I can't seem to ignore. The author is clear in the beginning that she is seeking to provide a complete social history of lesbianism, beginning with ancient society and ending in the present day, but I was expecting at least some insight regarding the genetic research of same-sex predisposition. The author comes close to discu [...]

In her introduction Leila clearly states that she is trying to set out a book that will include a Global history of same-sex desire and love between women, stating how so many focus on the "west" (ie Europe and the United States) and ignore the rest of the world. She then proceeds to write a book where she does just that! In the first few chapters she focuses entirely on the Greek and Roman traiditons, with a few paragraphs on other cultures, and often her references to the other cultures are to [...]

This might be worth a read, if you want a reasonably short introduction to 'sapphistries'. The sources amassed were wide-ranging, though mostly from a Western perspective, and many were new to me, including 'the Arab Sappho', a love spell addressed from one woman to another in Roman-era Egypt, and many Chinese 'May Fourth' writers and thinkers. Unfortunately, many of the 'primary sources' are quoted directly from other works of scholarship with no evidence that the author has sought to verify or [...]

A little dry for a book on the history of lesbianism (footnotes galore), Sapphistries accomplishes its ambitious goal of providing a global history of love between women. The global and historical context is interesting as Rupp highlights the ways in which lesbian love has been defined by both sameness (eroticised friendship) and difference (femme/butch), pointing out the importance of the public/private divide in the history of a culture that has often been invisible.

Some other readers said this was dry, but I found it remarkably accessible for an academic text. While there's some problematic stuff going on here with trans* identities (which the author, to her credit, does try to address), and while bisexuality isn't directly addressed, the information here is incredibly valuable for a sense of perspective.

A thoughtful academic treatment of written records of same-sex relationships across a variety of historical and cultural context that is undermined by a problematic view of gender that loops trans men in with lesbians, largely ignores bisexuality as a distinct sexual identity, and does not include even the barest suggestion that trans lesbians might exist. If your view of wlw relationships is more inclusive than "two people with vaginas," you will be somewhat disappointed.

An interesting and worthwhile read, but perhaps a little disappointing. Lots of interesting topics are raised, but they are discussed all too briefly for me. An entire book on the semi-mythical s of ancient Anatolia would be particularly welcome, if anyone could recommend such a work. But of course general introductions are in need, so this serves well enough as that. There's also the issue that the way gender-nonconforming people of the past are portrayed is very awkward. The very presence in t [...]

Excellent partial history of sapphism. This book gives a very global perspective. It has a dry, academic tone, but that's exactly how I like it. I learned so much from this book!

The 2nd book I reviewed for Bust.


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