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Skimming Through the Cambridge History of Gay and Lesbian Literature

Sunday, September 10, 2023 - 16:07

Having finished reading the entire first section of this collection (ancient & medieval topics), out of 7 articles, one focuses specifically on female topics (Sappho), one includes a proportionate amount of female content (the medieval article) and 5 articles focus solely on male topics, either because of the specificity of the genre being discussed or because "there isn't much data on women and it's not what I study anyway."

I'm taking a slightly different approach to blogging this content than I have previously in similar situations. Rather than just listing the chapters/articles that don't have anything relevant, I'm creating an entry with a brief discription but not creating the usual "blog envelope." So you can read those entries by clicking through to the LHMP entry, then on the righthand sidebar, select "whole publicaton on one page."

If I had to guess from the article titles and authors, the Renaissance/Early Modern section will have 1 out of 5 articles with any relevant content, the section on "Enlightenment Cultures" is harder to guess at, so we'll see. And I think the last three sections of the book will all fall outside the temporal scope of the LHMP. So I may finish up this collection pretty quickly, except for the part where I have to read everything to see if there's anything relevant. (Sigh.)

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Full citation: 

Lochrie, Karma. 2014. “Configurations of Gender and Sexuality in Medieval Europe” in The Cambridge History of Gay and Lesbian Literature ed. E.L. McCallum & Mikko Tuhkanen. Cambridge University Press, New York. ISBN 978-1-107-03521-8

Publication summary: 

A collection of articles meant as a critical reference work on literature across time and space that might be considered “gay and lesbian literature.” Only articles with lesbian-relevant content will be blogged in detail.

Chapter 5 - Configurations of Gender and Sexuality in Medieval Europe

Reading pre-modern literature in terms of gender and sexuality requires abandoning, modern sexual categories, even when continuities can be identified. The chapter begins with a review of major historians that shaped the study of medieval (homo)sexuality. It discusses the complicated structure of medieval, thinking around gender and sexuality. Discussion of specifics, primarily focuses on male homoerotic relations with brief nods to female relations. There is discussion of same-sex friendship in religious communities, such as beguines and convents, including poetry, between nuns, expressing erotic desire, and mention of the legends of cross-dressing saints. There is also a brief survey of secular literature, such as Le Livre de Manieres, Iphis and Ianthe, Yde and Olive, and the Romance of Silence.

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