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18th c

LHMP entry

Blake is looking at the history of the dildo in early modern culture not as a physical object, but as fulfilling the function of a fashion accessory. This, despite opening the conversation by stating that she is not viewing it for its symbolic purpose, but for its functional one. In passing, she notes that philosophical arguments about the function on the dildo in history have resonances with modern arguments about the symbolism and function of dildoes in lesbian relationships.

Satan’s Harvest Home is an anonymous polemic (published 1749) railing against the perceived rise of effeminacy, sodomy, and prostitution in English society.

Mary Wortley Montagu was the wife of the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire in the early 18th century and spent two years accompanying him to Constantinople. During those travels, she corresponded regularly with a number of people, describing her experiences and observations.

I was excited to read Kathleen Wilson’s article, “The Female Rake”, but in the end it disappoints me. Rather than taking a broad look at the concept of women as rakes, it focuses on a biography of a specific individual, combined with a compare-and-contrast treatment of the active sexuality of women in English society with attitudes towards female sexuality in colonial and non-European settings. [Note: I’d be disappointed that it doesn’t touch on female rakes with same-sex interests except that that was too much to hope for in the first place.]

This article connects the rhetoric of manly same-sex bonds with the development of national identity and nationalism in the 18th century and later. This image of a tight-knit national brotherhood not only trivially excludes women in the history of its development, but more consciously excludes racial and cultural “others,” relying, as it does, on an image of unified identity and feelings. I’m honestly a bit confused at how it fits into a “gay and lesbian” collection, except in the thematic connection between (white) male political solidarity and homo-affective bonds.

Libertine, rake, and dandy (LRD) are a sequence of persona types that emerged sequentially from the 16th to the 20th century, with overlaps, and blurring between them. They existed alongside other named character types, such as 18th-century, fops, macaronis, coxcombs, and coquettes. All are defined in relation to the “respectable” character types, such as the pious person, the bluestocking, etc. to name only a very few. The sexually-marked types of LRD don’t correspond directly to the modern concept of queerness, though some connections can be traced.

This chapter concerns Early Modern Ottoman, poetry, primarily about love, and primarily about love between men. This is not solely love of adolescent boys, but a wide array of male beloveds. Changes in cultural influences, especially westernization in the 19th century, reframed this dynamic as perverse. The focus of the article is Istanbul and relations between men, but one section of the article looks at female poets, and female same-sex topics.

This chapter begins with a discussion of what is known about Sappho, her poetry, and her reputation among her contemporaries in ancient Greece. The tragically fragmentary nature of the written legacy of her work is traced, including the nine volume collection lost in the 9th century and the recovery of fragments of her work from papyrus sources in the late 19th and 20th centuries.

Introduction

In the second half of the 18th century, women established themselves as writers of novels in dramatic numbers, thus the genre is imbued with a diverse array of women’s concerns. The novels discussed in this book tell stories often at odds with the official cultural narrative. Within that diversity, they contribute to a common tale of women’s options and how they negotiate them.

Introduction

In the later 18th century, there is a conflict in the English imagination between the foreign, dangerous, “female friends,” personified by the image of sapphic Marie-Antoinette, and the positive image of such celebrated English female couples such as Ponsonby and Butler, Seward and Sneyd. Hester Thrale personified this conflict, expressing deeply negative views of sexualized female relationships, but praising and even engaging in intimate (but not overtly sexual) relationships between women, such as Frances Barney.

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