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A Desired Past A Short History of Same-Sex Love in America cover
  • ISBN: 9780226731551
  • ISBN10: 0226731553

A Desired Past a Short History of Same-Sex Love in America

by Leila J. Rupp

  • List Price: $24.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
  • Publish date: 09/01/1999
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Between the covers of A Desired Past, we meet Mary Hammon and Sara Norman, who were found guilty in seventeenth-century Massachusetts of "lewd behavior each with the other upon a bed." We are introduced to Ozawwen-dib, a male Chippewa who, in the 1820s, lived as a woman and had many husbands. We Find Addle Brown, a freeborn black domestic servant, assuring African-American schoolteacher Rebecca Primus that "no kisses is like youres" in the 1860s. And we become acquainted with ACT-UP, Queer Nation, and the "tasty and dramatic" Lesbian Avengers. A Desired Past, as these examples suggest, is the lively tale of men desiring men and women loving women through nearly four centuries of American history.

Leila J. Rupp accomplishes in her book what no one has yet attempted. She combines a vast array of scholarship on supposedly discrete episodes in American history into an entertaining and entirely readable story of same-sex desire across the country and the centuries. She shows what it means to say that sexuality has a history by pointing to experiences of love and desire that were understood in radically different ways across time, and often in radically different ways by different groups at the same time. And she translates the difficult concepts that are central to cutting-edge theories of sexuality into an engaging narrative that explains these concepts in practice.

From the scenes the first Europeans encountered when they stepped ashore in the New World to the dizzying array of behaviors, identities, and movements that developed over time, A Desired Past is the first guide of its kind, and it will prove to be the most useful one for anyone interested in learning how modern sexualitycame to be.

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