‘A Depressed Amor’: Richardson’s ‘The Bathe: a Grotesque’
At a crucial point in 'The Bathe: a grotesque', the opening story of a series which Henry Handel Richardson named 'Growing Pains: sketches of girlhood', the protagonist, a six-year-old girl, is cast in the role of unwilling Eros to two mature women. She is referred to as 'a depressed Amor'. This phrase strikes the keynote to understanding not only the opening story but the series as a whole, which explores, among other things, the cultural channelling of female eroticism, the process whereby a girl is socially conditioned against the love of her own sex.
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