cover of book

Queer Timing: The Emergence of Lesbian Sexuality in Early Cinema
by Susan Potter
University of Illinois Press, 2019
eISBN: 978-0-252-05130-2 | Cloth: 978-0-252-04246-1 | Paper: 978-0-252-08424-9
Library of Congress Classification PN1995.9.L48P68 2019
Dewey Decimal Classification 791.436526643

In Queer Timing, Susan Potter offers a counter-history that reorients accepted views of lesbian representation and spectatorship in early cinema. Potter sees the emergence of lesbian figures as only the most visible but belated outcome of multiple sexuality effects. Early cinema reconfigured older erotic modalities, articulated new--though incoherent--sexual categories, and generated novel forms of queer feeling and affiliation.

Potter draws on queer theory, silent film historiography, feminist film analysis, and archival research to provide an original and innovative analysis. Taking a conceptually oriented approach, she articulates the processes of filmic representation and spectatorship that reshaped, marginalized, or suppressed women's same-sex desires and identities. As she pursues a sense of "timing," Potter stages scenes of the erotic and intellectual encounters shared by historical spectators, on-screen figures, and present-day scholars. The result is a daring revision of feminist and queer perspectives that foregrounds the centrality of women's same-sex desire to cinematic discourses of both homo- and heterosexuality.

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