- Category : Writers-Fiction
- Type : PSP
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Service 1
American-born Canadian novelist, essayist, and short-story writer known for her pioneering exploration of lesbian themes.
British Columbia author Jane Rule was born to a businessman and his wife in Plainfield, NJ in 1931. Upon graduating with a BA from Mills College, Oakland, CA in 1952, Rule studied briefly at University College, London, 1952/53 as an "occasional student" and then at Stanford University. In 1954 she taught English and Biology at the private Concord Academy in Massachusetts. In 1956 she emigrated to Canada after becoming horrified by the McCarthy-era anti-communist hysteria and its effects on US homosexuals.
In Vancouver she joined the staff of the University of British Columbia, lecturing in English and Creative Writing from 1959-72 and teaching women's groups.
In 1976 she moved to Galliano Island with Helen Sonthoff, a college professor with whom she had begun a relationship in the mid-1950s and with whom she is still living in 2000. Rule began to write full-time in 1974, distinguishing herself as one of BC's best fiction writers. She also made significant contributions in non-fiction, particularly on the subjects of homosexuality and women's rights.
Her first novel "Desert of the Heart," 1964, charts the relationship between two women who meet by chance in Reno, Nevada, and leave their mal
partners after falling in love with each other. The story was rejected by American publishers and took three years to be published after Macmillan of Canada accepted it in 1961.
The novel was made into the film, "Desert Hearts," 1985. Rule's ground-breaking book "Lesbian Images," 1975 included biographical profiles, literary analysis and criticism of mainstream writing about homosexual women along with an overview of works by lesbian-identified authors written onwards from the 1930s. She wrote at the end of her introductory chapters, "The silence has finally been broken." As one of the first books to look comprehensively at lesbian literature, "Lesbian Images" predated the appearance of Women's and Lesbian Studies on campus and helped spur their arrival. To obtain background material for her writings,
Rule has worked variously as a typist, teacher of handicapped children, change maker in a gambling house, and a store clerk. She lists her avocational interests as civil liberties and international aid programs, gardening and collecting paintings.
On November 27, 2007, the novelist died of complications of liver cancer at her home in Galiano Island, British Columbia. She was 76.