Challenging Presumptions of Heterosexuality

Eva Gore-Booth, A Biographical Case Study

in Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques

In 1925 Virginia Woolf described, with a hint of humor, how biography “is only at the beginning of its career; it has a long and active life before it, we may be sure—a life full of difficulty, danger, and hard work.“ 1 Recent debates suggest that one difficulty in writing a biography is deciding just what issues should be included. Sexuality may not always be of primary importance for a biographical study, but what if a subject's homosexuality is willfully ignored or vehemently denied by a biographer? Using the life of Irish poet and political activist Eva Gore-Booth as a case study, this article examines how misnaming Gore-Booth's relationship with her partner, Esther Roper, has helped to erase both women from the histories of Ireland and England.