Paean to Gaiety

Lorna Sage

  • The Apparitional Lesbian: Female Homosexuality and Modern Culture by Terry Castle
    Columbia, 322 pp, £20.00, January 1994, ISBN 0 231 07652 5

In this camp and dashing and deliberately lightweight study of a certain strand of ‘sexual ontology’ Terry Castle pursues the lesbian-as-ghost from Defoe’s wistful nearly-real Mrs Veal onwards. She had, she explains, been planning and researching a much heavier straight book about hauntings – on ‘the waning of belief in apparitions in Western culture after the Enlightenment’ – but in the end decided to come out of the closet and produce this labour of love: ‘I felt scandalously energised.’

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