Representing the Lesbian in Law and Literature
REPRESENTING WOMEN: LAW, LITERATURE AND FEMINISM, p. 356, Susan Sage Heinzelman, Zipporah Batshaw Wisemam, eds., Duke University Press, 1994
29 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2011 Last revised: 10 Nov 2016
Date Written: 1994
This Essay addresses the question "what is involved in representing a lesbian?" In two contexts, law and literature. Its premise is that the work of novelists is enough like the work of lawyers that lawyers can learn how to represent lesbian clients better by studying books with lesbian characters. This is a preliminary, anecdotal, and impressionistic effort. The Author relies upon several systematic surveys of the field and her seven years' experience as a litigator and eight years' further reading and reflection about the problems and strategies of representing lesbians. The Essay begins by exploring the general problem of representing lesbian clients. Then, after a broadbrush survey of lesbian literature, with particular attention to the problems of character construction and presentation, it explores ways images of lesbians from literature have been used, and ways they could be used, to represent the lesbian clients in two paradigmatic cases.
Keywords: lesbian, lesbian novels, lesbian clients, representing lesbians, civil rights, discrimination
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