Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Top 10 books about Paris & London lesbians in the early 20th century

Diana Souhami was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize for her biography of Radclyffe Hall, and won the 2001 Whitbread Biography Award for Selkirk's Island, the story of Scotsman Alexander Selkirk, the "real-life Robinson Crusoe."

A few years ago she named a top ten list of "books about Paris and London lesbians in the early 20th century" for the Guardian.

One title on her list:
A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway

A classic memoir, intriguing and light, in which Hemingway gives a haunting anecdote about Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas, who were intrinsic to Paris and modernism and supposedly the happiest of married couples. Hemingway writes of calling at their home in Rue de Fleurus and overhearing Alice speak to Gertrude as he'd never heard one person speak to another, "never anywhere, ever. Then Miss Stein's voice came pleading and begging saying, 'Don't pussy. Don't. Don't, please don't. I'll do anything pussy but please don't do it.'" We'll never know what was going on.
Read about all ten titles on on Souhami's list.

--Marshal Zeringue