Books of Lesbian Interest
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Plot / Content: Rating: L
In addition to the title story, includes The Lover of Things, Fräulein Schwartz, The Rest Cure - 1932 and Upon the Mountains.
The following description of the title story comes from glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & queer culture
The short story Miss Ogilvy Finds Herself written in 1926, though not published until 1934 ... Miss Ogilvy is another misfit, a woman with no interest in conventional romance or marriage, but with a talent for managing the business of life, running an estate, making financial decisions of importance and potential risk, settling disputes, taking charge of situations and the people involved in them--all activities gendered as masculine in that time.
World War I gives Miss Ogilvy the opportunity to put these talents to patriotic use leading an ambulance corps on the front lines in France. After the war, she realizes she is more a misfit than ever.
She ends her days in a quasi-mystical search for herself, one whose ultimate discovery is an atavistic return to her primitive self as the competent defender of "his" island, and especially of "his" lover. The inner circle is completed; Miss Ogilvy "fits" though twentieth-century life is impossible for her. She is found dead the next morning.
This is by no means simply a bleak portrait nor a bleak assessment of lesbian possibility. It is not a portrait of a failed woman, nor of a failed invert, but rather of a failed culture, one that can accommodate its inverts only in times of national crisis without ever acknowledging their deepest, most primitive, and most natural sources. This is the theme that Hall took up again in her most famous novel The Well of Loneliness.
"Feeling out of place at their stuffy private school, Val Hoffman and Chloe Fox turned to each other. Before long, they were spending all of their time together cutting classes, sleeping over, sharing the special kinds of secrets that can only be shared with a best friend. But then Val became confused about her feelings. She had never had a friend like this before. What if it was more than friendship? What if Chloe was feeling the same way?"
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"Miss Ogilvy stood on the quay at Calais and surveyed the disbanding of her Unit, the Unit that together with the coming of war had completely altered the complexion of her life, at all events for three years.
Miss Ogilvy's thin, pale lips were set sternly and her forehead was puckered in an effort of attention, in an effort to memorise every small detail of every small detail of every old war-weary battered motor on whose side still appeared the merciful emblem that had set Miss Ogilvy free.
Miss Ogilvy's mind was jerking a little, trying to regain its accustomed balance, trying to readjust itself quickly to this sudden and paralysing change. Her tall, awkward body with its queer look of strength, its broad, flat bosom and thick legs and ankles, as though in response to her jerking mind, moved uneasily, rocking backwards and forwards. She had this trick of rocking on her feet in moments of controlled agitation. As usual, her hands were thrust deep in her pockets, they seldom seemed to come out of her pockets unless it were to light a cigarette, and as thoug hshe were still standing firm under fire while the wounded were placed in her ambulances, she suddenly straddled her legs very slightly and lifted her head and listened. She was standing firm under fire at that moment, the fire of a desperate regret."
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