1 Louisa May Alcott, Little Women (New York: Modern Library, 1983), 537.
2 Lisa Duggan, “The Trials of Alice Mitchell: Sensationalism, Sexology, and
the Lesbian Subject in Turn-of-the-Century America,” Signs 18 (1993): 791.
3 For other examples of historical work that criticize an exclusive focus on the
role of medical and sexological discourse in the formation of homosexual
identity, see George Chauncey’s discussion of a vernacular street culture
that precedes medicalization in his Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture,
and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890–1940 (New York: Basic
Books, 1994), or Lisa Duggan’s understanding of the cross-textual influence
of people’s stories, sensationalist journalism, and sexology in Sapphic Slash-
ers: Sex, Violence, and American Modernity (Durham: Duke University
4 Richard Brodhead, Cultures of Letters: Scenes of Reading and Writing in
Nineteenth-Century America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994).
5 Lisa L. Moore, Dangerous Intimacies: Toward a Sapphic History of the Brit-
ish Novel (Durham: Duke University Press, 1997), 11. Indeed, as David
Halperin has recently argued, Foucault himself may have overestimated the
extent to which the rise of the homosexual (and the heterosexual) was the
ﬁrst instance of sexual identity (Halperin, “Forgetting Foucault: Acts, Iden-
tities, and the History of Sexuality,” Representations 63 [summer 1998]:
6 For a related critique of this problem, see Martha Vicinus, “‘They Wonder
to Which Sex I Belong’: The Historical Roots of the Modern Lesbian Iden-
tity,” Feminist Studies 18 (1992): 467–97.
7 Marylynne Diggs, “Romantic Friends or a ‘Different Race of Creatures?’ The
Representation of Lesbian Pathology in Nineteenth-Century America,” Fem-