The Proverbial “Lesbian”: Queering Etymology in Contemporary Critical Practice

  title={The Proverbial “Lesbian”: Queering Etymology in Contemporary Critical Practice},
  author={Paula Blank},
  journal={Modern Philology},
  pages={108 - 134}
[Lesbiazein] was a word in ancient times for ‘‘to defile.’’ Aristophanes in the Wasps : ‘‘She who already pollutes her drinking companions.’’ The infamous vice, which is performed with the mouth, called fellatio, I think, or irrumatio, is said to have originated with the people of Lesbos, and among them it was first of all something which women had to perform. The scholiast cites as witness to this Theopompus in his Ulysses : ‘‘Let me not speak aloud with my own lips of that ancient practice… Expand
Redefining realness
This paper furthers the goal of “queering lexicography” (Nossem 2018) by proposing a theoretical approach to analysing dictionary definitions that replaces the traditional descriptive/prescriptiveExpand
Imagine A Re-Thinking of Historiographies (of Rhetorics) as Atemporal, Anachronistic Post-Cinematic Practices
I continue to negate the negation/negativity of the so-called science of philology. Following Werner Hamicher’s recent publication of “95 Theses on Philology,” I agree that philology is not a scienceExpand
Desiring History and Historicizing Desire
This volume emerges out of a conference held at the Huntington Library in September 2014 that explored recent controversies in the study of sexuality in the early modern period, staging aExpand
Post-human philology and the ends of time in medieval bestiaries
This article shows how medieval bestiaries exclude animals from human language and Christian history – and also rely utterly on them. This simultaneous inclusion and exclusion produces what GiorgioExpand
David Melnick’s Men in Aïda
This article reads Men in Aida, David Melnick’s ‘Homophonic Translation’ of Iliad 1–3, as the product of a poetic technique cognate with both the philological practice of etymology (though refractedExpand
Philology in Ruins
How are digitized manuscripts affecting the theory and practice of philology? I use historical and artistic photographs to explore the implications of the new ‘photogenic philology’ that hasExpand


Making girls into women : American women's writing and the rise of lesbian identity
Making Girls into Women offers an account of the historical emergence of "the lesbian" by looking at late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century women's writing. Kathryn R. Kent proposes that modernExpand
for example, calls ''lesbian,'' along with ''homosexual,'' a modern ''neologism'' (The Apparitional Lesbian: Female Homosexuality and Modern Culture
  • 1993
Adages: II vii 1 to III iii 100
  • Collected Works
  • 1992
Lexicon Graecolatinum (London, 1581), s.vv. ''lesbias
    Lexicon-Graecum (Basil, 1539), s.vv. ''lesbias,'' ''lesbiazein & lesbiein
      Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. ''lesbian
        The Historical Epistles
          Turberville translates Ovid's ''Sappho to Phaon