May Sarton (May 3, 1912-1995) was an American poet, novelist, and memoirist born in Wondelgem, Belgium. Many of her novels and poems are pellucid reflections of the lesbian experience. When she published her more openly lesbian novel Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing in 1965, Sarton feared, rightly, that writing so strongly about lesbianism would lead to a diminution of the previously established value of her work. "The fear of homosexuality is so great that it took courage to write Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing," she wrote in Journal of Solitude 1973, "to write a novel about a woman homosexual who is not a sex maniac, a drunkard, a drug-taker, or in any way repulsive, to portray a homosexual who is neither pitiable nor disgusting, without sentimentality . . . .".
"A man with a talent does what is expected of him, makes his way, constructs, is an engineer, a composer, a builder of bridges. It's the natural order of things that he construct objects outside himself and his family. The woman who does so is aberrant. We have to expiate for this cursed talent someone handed out to us, by mistake, in the black mystery of genetics."
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