She was a feminist and pacifist who expressed controversial opinions on marriage, the Vietnam War, religious education in schools, sex, and pornography. She was a vocal campaigner for animal rights and vegetarianism. A 1965 Sunday Times article by Brophy is credited by psychologist Richard D. Ryder with having triggered the formation of the animal rights movement in England.
Brophy was born in London, and attended The Abbey School, Reading, between May 1941 and July 1943. She then attended St Paul's Girls' School in London, before attending Oxford for a year.
Brophy married art historian Sir Michael Levey in 1954. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1983.
Through the 1950s and 1960s, there was an unparalleled outpouring of representation and discussion about homosexuals. Mainstream publishing houses released hundreds of novels featuring homosexual characters and themes. These included respected, popular literary works such as Carson McCullers’s 1946 Member of the Wedding, Truman Capote’s 1958 Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and James Baldwin’s 1962 Another Country. Popular literature by James Barr, Patricia Highsmith, Jay Little, Brigid Brophy, Lance Horner, and Jane Rule sold to a mainstream audience or, like Barr’s Quatrefoil, a mostly gay male readership. Marguerite Yourcenar’s 1955 The Memoirs of Hadrian and Mary Renault’s books, such as the 1956 The Last of the Wine, set in a highly homoerotic ancient Greece, allowed homosexual readers to imaginatively construct a historical past. Lakey, a lesbian character modeled on woman-loving poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, was the most prescient and emotionally balanced central figure in Mary McCarthy’s 1962 best seller The Group. The 1950 thriller by lesbian writer Patricia Highsmith, Strangers on a Train, which would become a film by Alfred Hitchcock a year later, explored issues of guilt and innocence (and the fine distinction between being an outcast and a criminal) through a homoerotic relationship that included blackmail and murder. --Bronski, Michael (2011-05-10). A Queer History of the United States (Revisioning American History) (Kindle Locations 3827-3839). Beacon Press. Kindle Edition.Further Readings:
The Apparitional Lesbian by Terry Castle
Paperback: 307 pages
Publisher: Columbia University Press (April 15, 1995)
Amazon: The Apparitional Lesbian
In essays on literary images of lesbianism from Defoe and Diderot to Virginia Woolf and Djuna Barnes, on the homosexual reputation of Marie Antoinette, on the lesbian writings of Anne Lister, Sylvia Townsend Warner, and Janet Flanner, and on Henry James's The Bostonians, Castle shows how a lesbian presence can be identified in the literature, history, and culture of the past three centuries.
The Finishing Touch by Brigid Brophy
Paperback: 127 pages
Publisher: Gay Men's Press (December 1, 1995)
Amazon: The Finishing Touch
A lesbian couple manages a girls' finishing school in the South of France. The adventures begin....
Carefully and densely written, both a parody and a comedy, this short novel is highly entertaining. It has it all: sun, sex, drugs, drinks (Chartreuse of course, crucially both green and yellow), royalty and riches.
In Transit: An Heroi-Cyclic Novel (Irish Literature Series) by Brigid Brophy
Paperback: 235 pages
Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press; 1st Dalkey Archive ed edition (July 1, 2002)
Amazon: In Transit: An Heroi-Cyclic Novel
Set in an airport ("one of the rare places where twentieth-century design is happy with its own style"), In Transit is a textual labyrinth centering on a contemporary traveller. Waiting for a flight, Evelyn Hillary O'Rooley suffers from uncertainty about his/her gender, provoking him/her to perform a series of unsuccessful, yet hilarious, philosophical and anatomical tests. Brigid Brophy surrounds the kernel of this plot with an unrelenting stream of puns, word games, metafictional moments and surreal situations (like a lesbian revolution in the baggage claim area) that challenge the reader's preconceptions about life and fiction and that remain endlessly entertaining.
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