What constitutes a lesbian text? Can there be a distinctly lesbian voice and mode of cultural critique and analysis? What is its place in relation to feminist or gay theory? These are some of the questions Renee Hoogland addresses in "Lesbian Configurations", a "state of the field" report that critically reassesses many recent developments in lesbian studies. Hoogland provides original readings of literary and cinematographic texts such as "Basic Instinct" and "Bitter Moon", "The Bell Jar" and "Friends and Relations", in order to trace a logic in the way lesbian identities are negotiated in Western culture. Hoogland uses "The Colour Purple" to question how a text can be defined as "lesbian", and what that definition entails. She also investigates how female authors self-consciously posit lesbian narratives by employing strategies of disclosure and concealment in their work and discusses the cultural use of lesbian meanings: how they were encoded before Stonewall, and how the lesbian has recently been transformed from unspeakable to gradually acceptable in popular culture.Reading sexuality as much between the texts as through them, "Lesbian Configurations" provides a much-needed critical stock-taking and intervention in the field of lesbian studies.