Lecture Series

Vernon Lee's Apparitional Lesbians and Transvestite Hauntings

  • 12.30 - 13.30
  • 05 Feb 2020
Oil painting of woman in black dress with white collar
In this talk, Ruth Robbins discussed the fin-de-siecle writer Vernon Lee (real name Violet Paget) and the uses she made of the genre conventions of the ghost story to speak of desires that in her own time had very little visibility.

The lesbian is a figure who has been marginalised and even erased from literary history. Unlike the much more visible gay man, strategies for representing female same-sex desires are considerably more coded and covert. 

In Lee’s work the lesbian ghost is fleeting – now you see her, now you don’t. But the very fact of her appearance expresses the will to be both seen and heard. The work of recovering that story is an important part of lesbian literary history.

This event was part of LGBTQ History Month and the Leeds Cultural Conversations series organised by the Centre for Culture & the Arts at Leeds Beckett University.

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