Alcoholic, Mad, Disabled: Constructing Lesbian Identity in Ann Bannon’s “The Beebo Brinker Chronicles”
The chapter examines five lesbian novels written by Ann Bannon—Odd Girl Out (1957), I Am a Woman (1959), Women in the Shadows (1959), Journey to a Woman (1960), and Beebo Brinker (1962)—also known as “The Beebo Brinker Chronicles,” paying close attention to the way lesbian identity is constructed in these narratives. In 1950s–60s America, the secluded, secret lives, promiscuity, “lack” of femininity, and many other aspects distinguished lesbians from the heterosexual public as “different” and even “psychologically impaired.” The chapter scrutinizes the ways in which the novels metaphorically connect lesbianism and madness; but it also analyzes the literal portrayals of mad lesbians, arguing that through them “The Beebo Brinker Chronicles” links lesbianism to disability.
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