112th Annual Conference - Riverside Convention Center, California
Friday, October 31 - Sunday, November 2, 2014

This page is about the 2014 conference. For 2015 conference info, go to PAMLA 2015.

Lesbian Immortal

Kate Thomas, Bryn Mawr College

Kate Thomas is Associate Professor and Chair of English at Bryn Mawr College.  Her research interests span Victorian literature and culture, materialism, queer studies and food studies.  She is the author of Postal Pleasures: Sex, Scandal and Victorian Letters (Oxford UP, 2012) and is working on a new book project provisionally titled Victorians Fat and Thin.


This paper considers the late-nineteenth century lesbian craze for séances and hauntings, arguing that at the fin-de-siècle, the literary lesbian experienced her liminality in ways that allowed her to glimpse longevity.  This "Lesbian Immortal" produced characters such as: mummies who do needle-work, dead dogs who write sonnets, corpses with untidy hair. The presentation will discuss the - at times tragic, at times comic - mundanity of these figures, and consider the relationship of that mundanity to the category of the "familiar," which is so important to the uncanny.