First-Year Award Winner
May Sarton (1912-1995) was a contemporary author whose published work comprised 51 poetry books, novels, and nonfiction journals written from 1937 until 1994. Although her writing career was prolific and Sarton gained a tremendous amount of positive attention from the general public, critical reception of her work either ignored or undervalued her writing. By contextualizing Sarton’s work through lesbian pulp fiction, the primary source of fiction featuring same-sex relations in the mid-to-late-twentieth century, this paper aims to give a historical background to receptions of modern queer literature. By exploring parallels between censorship of lesbian pulp fiction and the condemnation of Sarton’s novels, it was determined that lesbianism was the primary source of backlash against Sarton’s work, despite Sarton’s denial that queer characters were not the focus of her writing.
Freitas, Anna, ""I was broken in two/By sheer definition." May Sarton’s Duality of Love, Life, and Lesbian Literature" (2017). 2017 Claremont Colleges Library Undergraduate Research Award. 2.