April 20, 2010
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.35 Pounds (US)
$96.00 USD
v2.1 Reference
Paperback / softback
January 28, 2011
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1.1 Pounds (US)
$37.95 USD
v2.1 Reference

Awfully Devoted Women

Lesbian Lives in Canada, 1900-65

The lives of lesbians who grew up before 1965 remain cloaked in mystery. Historians have illuminated the worlds of upper-middle-class "romantic friends" and working-class butch and femme women who frequented lesbian bars in the ’50s and ’60s. The majority of lesbians, however, were lower-middle-class women who hid their sexual identity by engaging in discreet social and sexual relationships.

Drawing on correspondence, interviews, journals, and newspaper articles, Awfully Devoted Women offers a nuanced portrait of the lives of middle-class lesbians in the decades before the gay rights movement in English-Canada. Accounts and explorations of these women’s sexual practices, thoughts on same-sex desire, and relations with friends and family unveil a world of private relationships, house parties, and discreet social networks. This intimate study of the lives of women forced to love in secret not only challenges the idea that lesbian relationships in the past were asexual, it also reveals the courage it took for women to explore desire in an era when they were supposed to know little about sexuality.

Awfully Devoted Women is the first book-length study of lesbian sexuality, relationships, and community in Canada before 1965. It will be of interest to students and practitioners of Canadian history and women’s studies and to anyone interested in the history of sexuality.

About the Author

Cameron Duder teaches history at Capilano University in Vancouver.


"Awfully Devoted Women tells the awfully interesting stories of two groups of Canadian women - upper-middle-class professionals from the first half of the twentieth century and lower-middle class women in the postwar period - who fill in the gaps between romantic friendship and the working-class bar culture. By showing us women who kept their desire and love for women private, yet could locate others like themselves, Duder helps to transform our understanding of the closet."—Leila J. Rupp, professor of feminist studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara
UBC Press

9780774817387 : awfully-devoted-women-duder
288 Pages
$96.00 USD
9780774817394 : awfully-devoted-women-duder
Paperback / softback
328 Pages
$37.95 USD

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