Diana W. Anselmo

Sep 2, 2023

A Queer Way of Feeling

Girl Fans and Personal Archives of Early Hollywood

University of California Press 2023

In A Queer Way of Feeling: Girl Fans and Personal Archives of Early Hollywood (University of California Press, 2023), Diana W. Anselmo queers the earliest development of the "fangirl." Gathering an unexplored archive of fan-made scrapbooks, letters, diaries, and photographs, A Queer Way of Feeling explores how, in the 1910s, girls coming of age in the United States used cinema to forge a foundational language of female nonconformity, intimacy, and kinship. Pasting cross-dressed photos on personal scrapbooks and making love to movie actresses in epistolary writing, adolescent girls from all walks of life stitched together established homoerotic conventions with an emergent syntax of film stardom to make sense of mental states, actions, and proclivities self-described as "queer" or "different from the norm." Material testimonies of a forgotten audience, these autobiographical artifacts show how early movie-loving girls engendered terminologies, communities, and creative practices that would become cornerstones of media fan reception and queer belonging.

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