Sex. Feminism. Lesbian Werewolves.

Women Writing Werewolves

Posted on May 23, 2011 in Blog, Feminism, Literature, Writing | 4 comments

Last night I received a truly wonderful gift from a dear friend.  David is a professor and in-line with that career choice, he has unsurpassed research skills and a great passion for exploring archives.  While doing Book cover - Invaders from the Darkindependent research he decided to investigate the history of women writing werewolf stories.  He had stumbled onto this track by reading the letter sections of original Sci-Fi and Fantasy magazines from the 1920s through the 60s. In these letters, he learned of a writer named Greye La Spina who wrote a pulp story called “Invaders from the Dark.”  Written in 1925, the story tells the tale of a seductive white werewolf woman who shakes up a small town, while a female occultist tries to stop her.  I’ve just barely started it, but it’s pulp-tastic already.

Invigorated by this search, darling David kept digging and found a predecessor of La Spina named Clemence Housman, a suffragette who published “The Werewolf” in 1896.  This story, too, features a female werewolf- a rough and tumble, gorgeous, fair wilderness woman who enraptures a hamlet.

Digging deeper, David asked the true experts of the fields of speculative fiction and discovers what most consider to be the oldest werewolf tale written by a woman- a medieval story written by Marie de France in the 12th century.  I was dumbfounded when I learned that there was a woman writing monster stories and publishing under her own name in the 12 century.  While this story features a male werewolf instead of female, the female character is no shrinking violet.  The wife of the eponymous werewolf wants to take a lover while her husband roams the forest as a beast, so she concocts a plan to keep her husband in wolf form forever.

I knew nothing of the canon or the history of werewolf stories when I wrote Inner Moonlight, and I wanted it that way.  I wanted to see what would come straight from me, without any outside influence.  Now, though, that I’ve gotten a good sense of my writing and my imagination, I’m thrilled to know that there is a historical precedent for what I’ve done.

These books plus the wonderful story of research and treasure-hunting that went with them, was one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.  It put me in touch with a noble history of kick-ass women writers who wrote about the fantastical beast.  I feel so honored to be part of a lineage that includes a contemporary of Chaucer, a suffragette, and a dirty-minded pulp goddess from the ’20s.  I hope I can carry the torch well.

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4 Comments

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  1. Hannah

    Glad to hear you’ve started to discover some of the gems of women’s werewolf fiction. But as a medievalist, I do have to make a teeny tiny correct… Marie predates Chaucer by 200 years!

  2. Allison

    Ah, ha! Thanks for the correction, Hannah! This is why it’s always good to have a medievalist around. 🙂

  3. Hannah

    We have our uses. 😉

    Seriously, though, Marie’s werewolf story is one of my fav medieval texts. She was a fab writer.

  4. Kardien Lupus

    It is good information. I’m kardien. I sent message to you before. I’m starting from zero ground as I said in my message. I like She – Werewolf but only know about little. This information can be helpful to establish my knowledge.
    Thank you good post Allison. Thank you! 🙂

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