The subject of intense media scrutiny at times, as Gavin Keulks points out, Winterson has been ‘notoriously maligned’ by her critics (2007, p. 146). From the start, Winterson has been identified with a wide range of personae including the ‘bright young thing’ of the mid-1980s, the arrogant lesbian enfant terrible of the mid-1990s, and the benign fairy godmother of recent times. Among press coverage there has without doubt been an unwarranted and inordinate focus on her personality and sexuality, characterized by a lurid fascination with her sex life and her supposed female coterie. Examples of hostile reviewing in the mainstream press, particularly but not exclusively by male critics, are legion (Lambert, 1998, online). Mainstream media commentary has consistently elided the distinction between her life and art and, as Lambert notes, the prurient focus on her sexuality and ‘arrogant’ behaviour has been at the expense of what Winterson calls ‘the work’ (ibid.).
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