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"Loving Her" Without Class: The Politics of Feminist Love in Ann Allen Shockley's Lesbian Novel

Mimi limuro Van Ausdall
Feminist Formations
Vol. 22, No. 1 (Spring 2010), pp. 57-75
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40835344
Page Count: 19
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"Loving Her" Without Class: The Politics of Feminist Love in Ann Allen Shockley's Lesbian Novel
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Abstract

This article draws attention to Ann Allen Shockley's Loving Her (1974/1997), the first known novel to highlight an interracial lesbian relationship, featuring Renay (Davis) Lee, a working-class black pianist, and her lover Terry Bluvard, an upperclass white writer. While previous critics have rightly understood Shockley's novel as revolutionary in its critique of the patriarchal family as imagined by some strands of black nationalism, I argue that the book offers a relationship that is still blemished by uneven power based on class. While the novel does put forward a subtle class critique, its most intimate relationship, that between Terry and Renay, displaces class difference onto the site of racial difference and/or replaces it with romantic love. When read symptomatically, love in the novel is more, though, than an imaginary solution to class difference; it adumbrates a lack, a need to further theorize the relationship between love and power.

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