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romantic friendship

October 15, 2009

is what I got to write about today. Mary Wollstonecraft was always falling in love with other girls. So, was she a lesbian? That’s what my students always want to know. Mary would not have known what they meant. She thought women should keep “a proper reserve” with one another at the same time that she wanted to set up housekeeping with her best friend. So, did she “have sex” with women? No. Were many of her primary relationships with women? Yes. Were they romantic? Yes, that is in the late 18th/19th century sense, when women danced together, held hands, cuddled, felt feverish passions for one another — and still married men who they also professed to love. There was no contradiction, as far as MW was concerned. There was room for passionate relationships of all kinds. I love writing about this stuff.

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