The Pure and the Impure by Colette (1932)Read about the other entries on the list.
Colette thought that this would eventually be recognised as her best book. It is a subtle and amiable ramble through the varied ecologies of desire. After an opening scene in an opium parlour, apparently full of same-sex couples of both sexes, its successive topics include: a modern Don Juan, masculine women and their liking for horses, the lesbian poet Renée Vivien, the domestic happiness of the Ladies of Llangollen, Proust’s dubious portrayals of lesbians, the social habits of man-loving men … Eccentric to the point of queerness, it is a book unlike any other, neither memoir nor fiction, neither dissertation nor tract. It deserves a helpful edition with footnotes to keep the reader abreast of the details of Colette’s life in Paris.