lesbian pulp and the lavender universe: Olivia...a love that dared not tell its name

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Olivia...a love that dared not tell its name

Do you remember a time when it seemed like every waking moment was consumed with thoughts of one person? Olivia lays in bed in her Parisian finishing school, listening intently into the wee hours of the night for the steps of Mademoiselle Julie, hoping she will stop outside her doorway. 

Olivia, a teenager finding love. Beginning adulthood, making her way through the complicated course of love. Trying to understand what her desires toward her teacher and mentor means.

"I remember that I felt as if my whole frame had been turned to water…she was coming-tonight-in a few hours---A paean sang in my heart. Had I been weak before? Now, exhilaration flowed through my veins. Why? Why? I didn't stop to think why. I only knew that there, in the immediate future, soon, soon, something was coming to me, some wild delight, some fierce anguish that my whole being called for."

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The sons and daughters of Sir Richard Strachey and Lady Strachey. 
Dorothy is the second from the left.

Olivia was written in 1949 by 'Olivia', the pseudonym of Dorothy Strachey. Dorothy was educated at the Marie Souvestre (1830–1905) girls' school at Les Ruches, Fontainebleau, France. She was later a teacher with Souvestre, and one of her pupils was Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1951, the novel was filmed as Olivia, with the lesbian elements toned down, in France by Jacqueline Audry.

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