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An anthology of literary texts and contexts

This book is an anthology of selections from works dealing with same-sex love, desire, sexual acts, and relationships during the period 1550-1735 in early modern England. It presents religious and moral writings, pseudo-medical writings, criminal pamphlets, travel writings, and letters on same-sex desire. The condemnation of male and female same-sex sexual acts is embedded in the earliest Christian theology. The early modern medical, pseudo-medical, and anatomical texts in Latin are surprisingly reticent about the physiological and anatomical aspects of homoerotic sexuality and desire. Canon law had long condemned male same-sex sexual acts. The 1533-34 statute in England forbade male same-sex sexual acts but ignored female same-sex intercourse. English travel narratives dealing with the sexual customs of other cultures often present sexual licentiousness as endemic, sometimes touching specifically on sodomy and tribadism. The most detailed presentations of same-sex erotic relationships in non-European cultures are those relating to Turkey and the Turkish seraglio. Familiar letters, such as between James I and VI, could reveal personal secrets and be radically transgressive in their emphasis on fostering love and desire. The book discusses homo-sexual subculture during 1700-1730, translation of Latin and Greek texts, and numerous literature representing male and female same-sex erotic relationships. The largely 'socially diffused homosexuality' of the seventeenth century changed profoundly with 'clothes, gestures, language' connoting 'homosexuality'. The book shows how literary genres of male same-sex and female-sex desires such as Shakespeare's Sonnets, and Catherine Trotter's Agnes de Castro allow the modern reader to chart changes in their representation.

Marie Helena Loughlin

ch a pt e r 9 Literature: Representing Female Same-Sex Erotic Relationships and Desires Literature: Female Desiderius Erasmus (?1466–1536), humanist scholar Erasmus’s major works are Adages (a collection of sententiae or wise sayings or maxims (1500)), the Enchiridion (a manual of Christian living (1503)), The Praise of Folly (a satire of contemporary European social and religious attitudes (1511)) and Colloquies (Latin dialogues on various social, moral, and religious topics (1518/19)). His Scriptural commentaries and editions of classical writers and the

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

ch a pt e r 8 Literature: Representing Male Same-Sex Erotic Relationships and Desires Literature: Male Edmund Spenser (?1552–99), poet Educated at Cambridge, where he met his dear friend and mentor Gabriel Harvey, Spenser later became the Earl of Leicester’s secretary, and gained the support and patronage of Sir Walter Ralegh and Sir Philip Sidney. Spenser’s works include the immediately popular Shepheardes Calender (1579); the sonnet sequence Amoretti and marriage poem Epithalamion (both 1595); the mythopoetic allegory of Tudor court life Colin Clouts Come

in Same-Sex Desire in Early Modern England, 1550–1735
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Swinburne and lyric crisis
Marion Thain

The lines of Swinburne’s poetry delineate the poetically perverse, the metrically masochistic, and the sensuously sadistic. Yet it is not the sexual intensity of his poetry that I explore in this chapter, although the pun in my title deliberately evokes these aspects of Swinburne’s poetry to tease from them a perversely chaste account of lyric community. ‘Desire lines’ is

in Algernon Charles Swinburne
Marie Helena Loughlin

ch a pt e r 2 Pseudo-Medical Writings Pseudo-Medical Writings Introduction According to Kenneth Borris’s extensive research, original early modern medical, pseudo-medical, and anatomical texts in Latin are surprisingly reticent about the physiological and anatomical aspects of homoerotic sexuality and desire.1 This reticence is surprising in the academic Latin tradition. ‘Modestly’ veiled in Latin, the language of the intellectual and social elites of Europe, such texts were available only to the exclusive and relatively limited audience of professional

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

General Introduction General Introduction The History of the History of ‘Homosexuality’: Debating Sexual Identity Same-Sex Desire in Early Modern England, 1550–1735 is an anthology of selections from works dealing with same-sex love, desire, sexual acts, and relationships, in a period when the representation and meanings attached to these realities underwent enormous changes. These selections aim at allowing the reader to consider in detail some of the critical and methodological issues that have been involved in charting the developing representations and

in Same-Sex Desire in Early Modern England, 1550–1735
Abstract only
Marie Helena Loughlin

maintaining friendships: ‘Love is the life of friendship, letters are / The life of love’ and ‘Speech is the index, Letters ideas are / Of the informing soul’ ( J. Howell, ‘To the Reader’, Epistolae Ho-Elianae (1645),15; Henderson 331–3). Not only do familiar letters reveal the inner mind of the writer, they often imply an intimacy and a capacity for conveying desire, which perhaps increase in intensity of expression precisely because they are predicated on the absence of the beloved. In the words of John Donne’s famous verse epistle ‘To Sir Henry Wotton’: ‘Sir, more than

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

. – And you’re a bold face. – Eh ye little dear toad! Come, buss [i.e., kiss]! – Then they’d hug, and 116 Loughlin, Same-sex desire in early modern England.indd 116 18/12/2013 15:25:06 The New ‘Homosexual’ Subculture play, and toy, and go out by couples into another room on the same floor, to be married, as they called it. (qtd in Norton, Mother 55) Trial transcripts and published polemics describing and condemning the new ‘homosexual’ subculture have, however, proved highly controversial sources, particularly when they have been used to date the shift from

in Same-Sex Desire in Early Modern England, 1550–1735
Abstract only
Marie Helena Loughlin

–14). Of the following presentations of tribadism in Africa and the East, Africanus’s is unsurprisingly the most measured. In a telling rejection of superstition, Africanus asserts that tribadic relationships do not spring from demonic possession, as he asserts is the popular conception in Africa and the Middle East, but are instead part of a ‘confidence’ subculture, where women desiring other women manipulate husbands into colluding in their own cuckoldry. By presenting Islamic culture as condemning tribadism, Africanus suggests the moral and ethical equivalency between

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

as sodomy, was in a different category of sin from forbidden heterosexual acts (Borris, Same-Sex 28). In his discussion of Romans 1.24–31, Calvin calls sodomy the ‘overthrowing of the whole order of nature’. In contrast, forbidden heterosexual acts within and outside of marriage were (according 1 Along with murder, oppression of the poor, and the defrauding of the labourer. 27 Loughlin, Same-sex desire in early modern England.indd 27 18/12/2013 15:25:00 Same-Sex Desire in Early Modern England to Thomas Aquinas, at least) less serious: they were violations

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