Here, in a single volume, it has been our intention to list, document and review every novel dealing, however slightly, with female variance, lesbianism or intense emotional relationships between women. We have also included a majority of the better known novels which, dealing primarily with male homosexuality, are of interest to the collector of variant fiction in general.
In related supplements we have compiled lists of variant poetry, variant films, of the major book services and publishing houses where these books can be obtained, and of the homosexual press.
The titles in the major portion of the Checklist are listed in a single comprehensive index by author. Information includes date published, number of reprints and publisher’s name. Brief reviews are included of most titles. An effort has been made in each case to distinguish whether the work under discussion is a novel about lesbianism, whether the variant content has been included mostly for shock effect, or whether (as in some excellent modern novels) homosexual characters appear incidentally to the other main themes of action in the book.
In such a comprehensive listing, reviews must of necessity be brief. For further discussion of many of the titles listed here, with excellent and complete critical analysis of their variant content, the serious student or collector is earnestly urged to invest in the definitive and major work on the subject:
FOSTER, Jeannette Howard; Sex Variant Women in Literature. N. Y. Vantage Press, 1956.
Although now officially out of print, this book can occasionally be obtained second hand, and copies will soon be offered for sale through the Daughters of Bilitis publication, THE LADDER. (See appendix.) We have made no effort to give more than cursory reviews of titles which are discussed at length in Dr. Foster’s work. However, since the publication of the Foster book, many new novels of lesbianism have been published, and the diligent search of many collectors, working with the Checklist editors, has brought many old ones to light.
We have tried to review in some detail the novels which were omitted from Dr. Foster’s work, and to strive for completeness, even at the expense of discriminatory judgment about the excellence or otherwise of the works included. Therefore this Checklist includes many works whose lesbian content was too slight, too subtle—or too “trashy”—to have come within the scope of the scholarly studies of Dr. Foster or the running column, Lesbiana, conducted by junior editor Gene Damon in the pages of THE LADDER.
It is our further contention that many novels dealing with male homosexuality come also within the province of the serious collector of lesbiana. We make, however, no claim for completeness for novels which fall within the homosexual, rather than the lesbian province. In general, the male titles included in this list—clearly defined, in each case, by the sign (m)—have been included because they were of special interest to the editors and therefore are presumably of interest to other collectors of lesbiana.
For those who wish a complete list of works dealing with male homosexuality, we suggest the comprehensive bibliography compiled by Noel I. Garde, discussed in the Appendix of Related Publications. Mr. Garde has indexed virtually every homosexual work from antiquity to the latest paperback shocker, and has also performed the mighty task of separating them into categories ... a task from which the Checklist editors have shrunk, though we have made some attempt at classification in our reviews and by awarding a plus sign to books of exceptional value.