American Studies
American Studies

New Book by UT AMS Faculty Dr. Lauren Gutterman

Tue, November 19, 2019
New Book by UT AMS Faculty Dr. Lauren Gutterman

Congratulations to Dr. Lauren Gutterman, whose new book Her Neighbor's Wife: A History of Lesbian Desire Within Marriage has just been published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. According to the publisher:

Through interviews, diaries, memoirs, and letters, Her Neighbor's Wife traces the stories of hundreds of women who struggled to balance marriage and same-sex desire in the postwar United States. In doing so, Lauren Jae Gutterman draws our attention away from the postwar landscape of urban gay bars and into the homes of married women, who tended to engage in affairs with wives and mothers they met in the context of their daily lives: through work, at church, or in their neighborhoods.

In the late 1960s and 1970s, the lesbian feminist movement and the no-fault divorce revolution transformed the lives of wives who desired women. Women could now choose to divorce their husbands in order to lead openly lesbian or bisexual lives; increasingly, however, these women were confronted by hostile state discrimination, typically in legal battles over child custody. Well into the 1980s, many women remained ambivalent about divorce and resistant to labeling themselves as lesbian, therefore complicating a simple interpretation of their lives and relationship choices. By revealing the extent to which marriage has historically permitted space for wives' relationships with other women, Her Neighbor's Wife calls into question the presumed straightness of traditional American marriage.

Dr. Gutterman is also co-founder and co-host of the podcast Sexing History

To read more about Her Neighbor's Wife, visit the University of Pennsylvania Press.

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