Fatal Women: Lesbian Sexuality and the Mark of Aggression

Overview

In this major contribution to lesbian theory/cultural studies, Lynda Hart analyzes the way violent women have been represented in literature, plays, film, and performance. Starting from the historical link between criminality and sexual deviancy, Hart builds a complex and original theory in which the shadow of the lesbian animates representations of violent women from the Victorian novel to the recent proliferation of films depicting women who kill. This cross-disciplinary study critiques constructions of gender,...
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Overview

In this major contribution to lesbian theory/cultural studies, Lynda Hart analyzes the way violent women have been represented in literature, plays, film, and performance. Starting from the historical link between criminality and sexual deviancy, Hart builds a complex and original theory in which the shadow of the lesbian animates representations of violent women from the Victorian novel to the recent proliferation of films depicting women who kill. This cross-disciplinary study critiques constructions of gender, race, class, sexualities, and the cultural politics of the 1990s in one of the first book-length contributions to lesbian theory. Fatal Women is certain to be widely read by scholars, students, and anyone interested in the politics of representation. Hart's introductory chapter constructs a theory of female violence across the discourse of sexology, criminology, and psychoanalysis. Subsequent chapters detail this theory in the Victorian novel and stage sensation Lady Audley's Secret, Frank Wedekind's Lulu plays, which introduced the "invert" onto European stage, the popular films Thelma and Louise, Mortal Thoughts, and Basic Instinct, the political intersection of race and gender in Single White Female, the performance art of Karen Finley in the context of the censorship debates, the fate of Aileen Wuornos, dubbed the first "female serial killer" by the FBI, and the Split Britches' performance Lesbians Who Kill.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"It is a female-centered, deeply thoughtful and provocative work, a most original contribution to lesbian readings of popular culture that is sure to inspire further lesbian theory."The Women's Review of Books
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415100823
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 11/10/1994
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 220
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1 Introduction: The Paradox of Prohibition 3
2 The Victorian Villainess and the Patriarchal Unconscious 29
3 Enter the Invert: Frank Wedekind's Lulu Plays 47
4 Chloe Liked Olivia: Death, Desire, and Detection in the Female Buddy Film 65
5 Reconsidering Homophobia: Karen Finley's Indiscretions 89
6 Race and Reproduction: Single White Female 104
7 Why The[word is lined out] Woman Did It: Basic Instinct and its Vicissitudes 124
8 Surpassing the Word: Aileen Wuornos 135
9 Afterword: Zero Degree Deviancy - Lesbians Who Kill 155
Notes 161
Works Cited 187
Index 197
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