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Bray, on the other hand, follows Foucault, insisting that "to talk of an individual in [the early modern] period as being or not being 'a homosexual' is an anachronism and ruinously misleading" , p.
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The work of historical recovery, reclaiming, and rereading done since Boswell and Bray has been extremely varied. In literary studies, scholars have uncovered new or little-known texts—letters exchanged between women or between men that evince erotically-charged affection; poetry like that which Thomas Stehling collects in Medieval Latin Poems of Male Love and Friendship , and Richard Barnfield's late-sixteenth-century homoerotic poetry.
Critics have also returned to canonical texts to reread these from queer perspectives. A significant body of scholarship on the Renaissance stage, like Stephen Orgel's, considers how the experience of cross-dressed acting signified culturally.
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Many literary studies have also cast their web more widely, to examine and queer texts not so explicitly homoerotic. Richard E. Schultz's Courtly Love, the Love of Courtliness, and the History of Sexuality take up, in very different queering ways, a " courtly love " poetry typically taken to be "heterosexual.
While focused largely on Shakespeare, Valerie Traub's Desire and Anxiety: Circulations of Sexuality in Shakespearean Drama also attends to a variety of other early modern cultural material. Mario DiGangi's Homoerotics of Early Modern Drama surveys a wide range of dramatic genres to show the centrality of homoeroticism to each, as to many early modern institutions and social experiences. Also broadly conceived in the texts they take up and the formulations they develop are Gregory W.
Other queer historical scholarship similarly recovers and reinterprets discourses shaping and shaped by eroticism. Kenneth Borris's Same-Sex Desire in the English Renaissance  provides a compendious collection of early modern texts. Many others have examined theological and religious engagements with sex and eroticism: condemnations of sodomy, beginning with Peter Damian's eleventh-century Book of Gomorrah ; writings on spiritual friendship, beginning with Aelred of Rievaulx in the twelfth century; penitential manuals; women's mystical reflections; fire-and-brimstone sermons like Bernardino of Siena's in early Renaissance Italy; Reformation and Counter-Reformation theology and exegesis.
Those contributing to this scholarship include Boswell, E. Political and legal discourses on disallowed sexuality have also received significant attention—for instance, in the detailed archival work done by Michael Rocke in Forbidden Friendships: Homosexuality and Male Culture in Renaissance Florence , or, in a very different vein, by Ruth Mazo Karras in Common Women: Prostitution and Sexuality in Medieval England Especially prominent in examinations of medieval and early modern religious, political, and legal formulations has been sodomy , a term that included much disallowed sexual behavior.
Mark Jordan's The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology shows how sodomy became a common way of understanding queer sex. William Burgwinkle's Sodomy, Masculinity, and Law in Medieval Literature develops a sophisticated reading of how legal and religious understandings of sodomy are written into, and rewritten by, literary texts. These emphasize especially the slipperiness of the term, in Goldberg's words, its "relational" function as "a measure whose geometry we do not know, whose a symmetries we are to explore Sodometries , p.
Some scholars for instance, DiGangi have objected to making sodomy the sole focus of work on premodern sexualities. After all, other homoerotic and antinormative discourses and experiences are culturally significant. Alan Bray's The Friend traces the experience of homosocial friendship from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century. Theodora Jankowski's Pure Resistance: Queer Virginity in Early Modern English Drama reads women's virginity as queerly resisting patriarchal marriage; in this resistance, it echoes the earlier practice of "chaste marriage" described by Dyan Elliott in Spiritual Marriage: Sexual Abstinence in Medieval Wedlock The emphasis on sodomy also tends to privilege male sexuality, though the category of sodomy had an impact as well on defining and limiting female sexuality, as noted in several of the essays in Sautman and Sheingorn's Same Sex Love and Desire among Women in the Middle Ages.
Lochrie, morever, argues that there were medieval discourses of female sodomy that we should attend to, and her own work—both Covert Operations: The Medieval Uses of Secrecy and Heterosyncrasies —examines medieval women's eroticism. Not all of the work of recovery, reclamation, and rereading just detailed identifies itself as queer.
Also crucial to this project is a political impulse to make the historical work of medieval and early modern studies pertinent for our twenty-first-century moment. Can understanding a queer past make queer lives in the present more livable? In Dinshaw's resonant formulation, can the past and the present touch each other queerly?
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The answers offered to such questions have been complex and often contradictory—ranging from the assertion of direct continuities between the medieval and the post -modern to insistence on the unbridgeable alterity of present and past. For the most part, self-defined queer scholarship has, following Foucault, emphasized difference.
Thus, Lochrie, in Heterosyncrasies , argues that even to talk of medieval "norms" or "normality" is anachronistic; that such categories are the product of the statistical thinking of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; and that a dynamic of norm and queer deviations simply does not work in analyzing medieval material. But even those who strongly emphasize the premodern's alterity do so with the current moment at least partly in mind: to recognize how different sexual configurations were in the past is also to suggest how different they might become in the future.
To argue, as Burger does in Chaucer's Queer Nation , that late-medieval marriage was radically changing destabilizes queers a hegemonic understanding of modern heterosexual marriage as unchanging and universal.
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Shakespeare Studies , 44, Exemplaria , 28 1 , Shakespeare , 11 1 , English Studies , 96 7 , Shakespeare Bulletin: a journal of performance, criticism, and scholarship , 32 4 , Shakespeare , 9 1 , The Sonnet in Ruins: Time and the Nation in Early Modern Culture: an electronic seminar , 6. English Literary Renaissance , 34 3 , Rethinking History , 7 1 , Review: Disgraced turns West-meets-Islam divisions into striking melodrama. The Conversation , 3 May , pp. Shakespeare Newsletter, 64 1 , pp.
Constructions of female homoeroticism in early modern drama /
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