A Lesbian History of the Sonnet


lisa_mooreWhen Petrarch was inventing the sonnet form, he was reading Sappho’s love poems to Lesbia.  Ranging from the fourteenth century to contemporary debates about the politics of formal poetry, this talk argues that representations of love between women are central to the sonnet form, and that all sonnets are in some sense imitations of a lesbian–or at least Lesbian–original.

Lisa L. Moore, Professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, is the author of Sister Arts: The Erotics of Lesbian Landscapes (Minnesota, 2011), which won the Lambda Literary Award and was a finalist for the Publishers’ Triangle Award.  She also wrote Dangerous Intimacies: Toward a Sapphic History of the British Novel (Duke, 1997), and is the editor, with Omi Osun Jones and Sharon Bridgforth, of Experiments in a Jazz Aesthetic: Art, Activism, Academia, and the Austin Project (Texas, 2010) and, with Joanna Brooks and Caroline Wigginton, of Transatlantic Feminisms in the Age of Revolutions (Oxford, 2011), which was selected as a 2012 Choice Outstanding Academic Book of the Year.  She has published articles and reviews in journals including GLQ, Eighteenth-Century Studies, Cultural Critique, Textual Practice, Signs, Albion, and Modern Philology.  Her poems have been published by Split This Rock, Ostrich Review, Codex Journal, Broadsided, Sinister Wisdom, Lavender Review and others, and she won the 2012 Museum of Fine Arts-Houston Art/Lines Juried Poetry Competition.  Professor Moore is a frequent contributor to the Poetry section at the Los Angeles Review of Books. 

This event is free and open to the public. Sponsored by the UC Berkeley Center for the Study of Sexual Culture. Co-sponsored by the Department of Comparative Literature. For more information, please contact cssc@berkeley.edu