This website is an interactive academic
tool for CEA-UNH course:
Gay Paris:
Culture, Society, & Urban Sexual Identity

CEA GlobalCampus | Spring 2009
UNH Course Code: GEN230
Credits: 3 | Location: Paris, France

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Amazones et Sirènes

Weiss, Paris Was A Woman (p. 100-141)

"Rather, she was what her biographer George Wickes has aptly called 'unquestionably the leading lesbian of her time.' She devoted her life to praising the joys of, and indeed promoting an ethos of, lesbianism." (100)

"Natalie surrounded herself with a coterie of beautiful women, virtually all of whom were former, present or future lovers. While in her twenties, she and the poet Renée Vivien travelled to Lesbos to set up a lesbian school for poetry and love...The qualities of Sappho that Natalie admired - a love of beauty and sensuality, the freedom to love without jealousy or moral judgement - were signposts by which she set out to live her own life. Although her plans for Lesbos were stymied, Natalie gathered a similar community of women around her in Paris, and held pagan rituals in her garden." (101)

"Her calling as a poet could never match her calling as a lover...Her wide capacity for love nourished and supported a century of female creativity, not only her own but that of her innumerable lovers and intimate friends. Her art was that of love, and she was a prolific artist, much to the chagrin of her jealous lifelong partner, the painter Romaine Brooks. Natalie and Romaine were both enormously wealthy American expatriates in Paris, but here their similarities ended." (102)

"Of Djuna Barnes, Natalie wrote: 'A rough diamond sort of genius who cut everything to pieces and then blamed the cuts.'" (105)

Natalie Barney: "I considered myself without shame: albinos aren't reproached for having pink eyes and whitish hair, why should they hold it against me for being a lesbian? It's a question of nature: my queerness isn't a vice, isn't deliberate, and harms no one. What do I care, afterall, if they vilify or judge me according to their prejudices?" (107)

Barney: "Paris has always seemed..the only city where you can live and express yourself as you please." (107)

"In 1909, she established a salon in her Left Bank house that would continue for 60 years and encompass many French, American, and English artists, writers and celebrities...According to Solita Solano, 'Natalie did not collect modern art; she collected people, and you could be sure of being dazzled any Friday (her day) you dropped in for tea. On one particularly dazzling Friday Greta Garbo showed up..." (111)

"Natalie was intimate with Colette...Colette must have been more satisfactory than almost anyone else in her life." (114)

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