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Title: Crises of identity in Jewish American lesbian literature from 1979 to the present
Author: Reed, Clare Louise
ISNI:       0000 0004 2716 9260
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis examines the portrayal of Jewish lesbians in American literature since 1979. As well as a study of Jewish lesbian identity, the thesis examines how Jewish identity exists in literature separate from lesbian identity, and vice versa. In this representative sample of texts from the period, several kinds of text are used (fiction, non-fiction, magazine articles and television) to draw conclusions about how Jewish lesbians see themselves, and how they are seen by others. Above all, the complexities and crises in this complex identity will be drawn out and discussed with specific reference to how the identity exists, is permitted to exist, or cannot exist within literature, and by extension, within individuals. These crises often occur around the combination of Jewish and lesbian identities: the acceptance of lesbians within a religion which traditionally forbids same-sex relations, adherence to a religion that is considered by many lesbians and feminists to be patriarchal, and overcoming the paradox of secular Judaism as a comfortable middle-ground from which one can be both Jewish and lesbian. The changes in identity that occur as a result of passing time will also be noted, and how far changing attitudes in America as a whole towards both ethnic and sexual diversity have an effect on personal identity will be another theme of this thesis. Works by Adrienne Rich (1986), Irena Klepfisz (1990), Evelyn Torton Beck (1982), Ruth Geller (1984), Leslea Newman (1988), Elana Dykewomon (2009) and Sarah Schulman (2009) will be studied, as well as the popular Lilitb magazine (1985-1995) and network television shows Friends (1994-2004) and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), demonstrating how far this very specific but highly pervasive identity is part of popular culture as well as the Jewish lesbian community.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available