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.
‘I am alive, alive, alive,
High tide and sunrise in my mind’1
Gore-Booth’s religiouswritings were particularly inspired by her
experiences in Italy. Much of her writings after 1920 reflect the time
that she spent there. In July 1921, a short article entitled ‘A Sketch in
Florence,’ appeared in The Flame, the official journal of the League of
Peace and Freedom.2 This anti-conscription article recounted a visit
she made to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. As she made her way
through the streets of the city, Gore-Booth encountered a group of
This chapter examines the central role Thomas Wright’s The Passions of the Minde in Generall (1601) has played in the historiography of early modern emotion, particularly in relation to humoral theory. By reading Wright’s book within the context of his life as a Jesuit priest and his other, much more polemical religious writings (including two treatises on the Eucharist and a pamphlet on the ‘notorious errors’ of Protestantism), this chapter shows how Wright’s approach to affective experience was part of a larger intellectual project addressing the complex relationship between the physical and the spiritual, the body and the soul, in both the private and public domains. Such an analysis illustrates how Wright’s understanding of the passions was both more particular and more complicated than has often been acknowledged, highlighting the importance of accounting for both local contexts and the influence of multiple intellectual frameworks (medical, religious, political, and philosophical) in the study of early modern emotion.
The church as sacred space places the reader at the heart of medieval
religious life, standing inside the church with the medieval laity in order to
ask what the church meant to them and why. It examines the church as a building,
idea, and community, and explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church
was crucial to its place at the centre of lay devotion and parish life. At a
time when the parish church was facing competition for lay attention, and
dissenting movements such as Lollardy were challenging the relevance of the
material church, the book examines what was at stake in discussions of sanctity
and its manifestations. Exploring a range of Middle English literature alongside
liturgy, architecture, and material culture, the book explores the ways in which
the sanctity of the church was constructed and maintained for the edification of
the laity. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary theoretical approaches, the
book offers a reading of the church as continually produced and negotiated by
the rituals, performances, and practices of its lay communities, who were
constantly being asked to attend to its material form, visual decorations, and
significance. The meaning of the church was a dominant question in late-medieval
religious culture and this book provides an invaluable context for students and
academics working on lay religious experience and canonical Middle English
Ralph Knevet's Supplement of the Faery Queene (1635) is a narrative and allegorical work, which weaves together a complex collection of tales and episodes, featuring knights, ladies, sorcerers, monsters, vertiginous fortresses and deadly battles – a chivalric romp in Spenser's cod medieval style. The poem shadows recent English history, and the major military and political events of the Thirty Years War. But the Supplement is also an ambitiously intertextual poem, weaving together materials from mythic, literary, historical, scientific, theological, and many other kinds of written sources. Its encyclopaedic ambitions combine with Knevet's historical focus to produce an allegorical epic poem of considerable interest and power. This new edition of Knevet's Supplement, the first scholarly text of the poem ever published, situates it in its literary, historical, biographical, and intellectual contexts. An extensive introduction and copious critical commentary, positioned at the back of the book, will enable students and scholars alike to access Knevet's complicated and enigmatic meanings, structures, and allusions.
‘mixture of fury and faith’ exhibited in early modern religiouswritings that makes ‘many … Christians so magnetic’ as figures for historical study.
This notion is not a modern symptom of nostalgia for the past. As the contemporary poet and pamphleteer John Milton put it, ‘For Books are not absolutely dead things, but doe contain a potencie of life in them to be as active as that soule was whose progeny they are; nay they do preserve as in a violl the purest efficacie and extraction of that living intellect that bred
Lydgate’s saintly poetics
While most scholarship on the works of John Lydgate has tended
to concentrate on ‘secular’ works such as Troy Book (c. 1412–20) or
Fall of Princes (c. 1431–38), more recently some voices have started
to speak out about the innovative aspects of his religiouswritings,
especially his saints’ lives. Thus, in 2006, Fiona Somerset urged
scholars to look across Lydgate’s immense and diverse oeuvre,
arguing that ‘Lydgate’s hagiographical writings are a particularly
fertile ground for such cross-comparison’.1 Jennifer Sisk
University Press, 2003); and J. Champion, ‘Some Forms of Religious Liberty: Political Thinking,
Ecclesiology and Freedom in Early Modern England’, unpublished paper 2008. I am grateful
to Justin Champion for providing me with a copy of this paper.
22 A. A. Cooper, third Earl of Shaftesbury, A Letter Concerning Enthusiasm, to My Lord *****
(1708), in Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions,Times, 4th edn (London, 1727), I, pp. 3–55.
On Toland’s many religiouswritings see Champion, Republican Learning, especially Part III. A.
Collins, A Discourse of Freethinking
Bible or religiouswritings could be the source of political tensions. The translation of the Bible into English, for example, encouraged dissident movements like the Lollards in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
A couple of centuries on, pamphlets were a major element in the English Civil War, with both monarchists and parliamentarians disseminating their ideas through this medium. During this time another dissident movement, the Levellers, led by Gerrard Winstanley (1609–76), advocated a form of Christian communism which they sought to advance through
, wilkite controversies 103
and sympathised with the colonists. Not only did he distribute British works
favourable to liberty in America, but he also disseminated American writings in
Britain, becoming a key mouthpiece for American views.
Baron had begun editing commonwealth works independently, before
he met Hollis in 1756, but by the 1760s they were working together. Baron’s
republications included The Memoirs of Edmund Ludlow (1751); a collection of
the religiouswritings of Thomas Gordon entitled A Cordial for Low Spirits (1751,
1763); TheWorks of John Milton (1753