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Ruth & Naomi (Bible)

Biblical story in which a woman expresses love and devotion to her mother-in-law.Although not framed as romantic, the text has been viewed as Biblical support for intense emotional bonds between women.

LHMP entry


Early Modern England (16-17th century) was developing a vocabulary and symbology to describe and express intimacy between women and female non-normative sexuality. This was taking place in various genres, including travel narratives, medical texts, and works of marital advice. At the same time, women were developing an evasive coded language to express such desires in their own lives. In this context, Sappho was invoked not only as a symbol of female lyricism, but also to represent and make reference to erotic bonds between women.

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