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.
play’s ‘uncommon success’ is
firmly credited to Southerne.53 In the following month Behn’s romantic
novel AgnesdeCastro (1688) was adapted for the Patent Company by a
‘young lady’, soon to be identified as sixteen-year-old Catherine Trotter.
Two months later, Behn’s unperformed The Younger Brother was also produced by the Patent Company.Charles Gildon,who probably had a hand in
Trea d i ng th e bawd s
preparing the manuscript, uses the dedicatory epistle to complain that the
play’s unsuccessful run was due to ‘some
sodomite. Critics have focused instead on women’s appropriation of amicitia
and voluntary kinship, as well as a variety of literary discourses and tropes,
such as the representation of the transvestite heroine (on stage and in prose
romance); the representation of the loving relationships between women on
the pre-Restoration and post-Restoration stage (e.g., Catharine Trotter’s
AgnesdeCastro: see 9.24), and in the late seventeenth-century poetry of
female friendship; as well as the elegiac and pastoral modes used to express
these relationships and contain any
expel such new
quality high rank.
guinea English gold coin of considerable value.
Loughlin, Same-sex desire in early modern England.indd 528
Catharine Trotter (?1674–1749), writer
Largely self-educated, Trotter published one novella, before turning to the
drama. Her five plays – AgnesdeCastro (1695), Fatal Friendship (1698), Love at
a Loss (1700), The Unhappy Penitent (1701), and The Revolution of Sweden (1706)
– all feature passionate yet rational heroines, who espouse the highest