International Journal of Sexuality and Gender Studies

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 279-291

First online:

Passionate Gods and Desiring Women: Jeanette Winterson, Faith, and Sexuality

  • Marian EideAffiliated withDepartment of English, Texas A & M University

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Throughout her literary works, Jeanette Winterson describes sexual passion in the language and with the understanding of a parallel and informing spiritual faith and compassion. Winterson's narratives of romantic love and sexual passion seek in a different form the experience of perfect union with another demonstrated in the ecstatic practices of charismatic Christianity. From her first book, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (1985), to her most recent fictions, Winterson has consistently drawn on Biblical language and religious experience to produce her own exalted discourse of passion. In drawing on Biblical language to express erotic passion, Winterson resists the popular cultural image of perfect rapprochement, the merging of self and other typically ascribed to the lesbian couple. Rather, she emphasizes the challenge of union in love, using the language of faith to indicate the elusive qualities of passionate connection. The language she borrows from her Pentecostal childhood allows her to describe a kind of charismatic experience of meeting between self and lover while recognizing the essential difference between partners, the foreignness of the beloved.

Jeanette Winterson lesbian sexuality Pentecostal spirituality passion