What is it about?

The late novels of lesbian modernist Gale Wilhelm have received little critical attention, and have largely been dismissed as minor efforts shaped by the pressures of a homophobic literary market. Performing a kind of feminist recovery work, I demonstrate that these books incorporate queerness into the putatively heterosexual structure of the marriage plot, and frame Wilhelm as a key figure for understanding how queerness might be located at the intersection of modernist and middlebrow literature in the early to mid twentieth century.

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Why is it important?

Drawing attention to the queerness of these late novels gives a clearer picture of Wilhelm's career, allowing us to reassess her importance to queer literary studies. More broadly, this work also suggests the importance of attending to plot--rather than character--as a site of queerness, and the necessity of a re-evaluation of the conventional association between the heteronormativity and the middlebrow.

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This page is a summary of: Queering the Marriage Plot: Gale Wilhelm's Middlebrow Modernism, Legacy A Journal of American Women Writers, January 2020, Project Muse,
DOI: 10.5250/legacy.37.1.0109.
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