Travel Writings
in Same-Sex Desire in Early Modern England, 1550–1735
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English travel narratives that deal with the sexual customs of other cultures, particularly those of the New World and the East, often present sexual licentiousness as endemic, sometimes touching on sodomy and tribadism. Jean-Baptiste Tavernier's extensive travels included journeys to England, Eastern Europe, Turkey, Persia, and Palestine. By presenting Islamic culture as condemning tribadism, Leo Africanus suggests the moral and ethical equivalency between Islamic Fez and Christian Europe. But the picture Africanus presents could not have avoided feeding his European readers' assumption that Islam and East were sites of 'aberrant' sexuality. Nicolas de Nicolay presents tribadism as endemic to Turkish culture, perversely encouraged by the Turkish husband's stereotypical jealous possessiveness and his wielding of tyrannical domestic power. Falling ill-fatedly in love with a Venetian count, Francesco Algarotti, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu left for the Continent in 1739, spending time in Avignon, Brescia, Venice and Padua, died finally of breast cancer.

Same-Sex Desire in Early Modern England, 1550–1735

An anthology of literary texts and contexts


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