Queer Iberia

Sexualities, Cultures, and Crossings from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance

Book Pages: 488 Illustrations: 3 illustrations, 1 table Published: August 1999

Gender and Sexuality > LGBTQ Studies, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Criticism, Pre-Modern Studies > Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Martyred saints, Moors, Jews, viragoes, hermaphrodites, sodomites, kings, queens, and cross-dressers comprise the fascinating mosaic of historical and imaginative figures unearthed in Queer Iberia. The essays in this volume describe and analyze the sexual diversity that proliferated during the period between the tenth and the sixteenth centuries when political hegemony in the region passed from Muslim to Christian hands.
To show how sexual otherness is most evident at points of cultural conflict, the contributors use a variety of methodologies and perspectives and consider source materials that originated in Castilian, Latin, Arabic, Catalan, and Galician-Portuguese. Covering topics from the martydom of Pelagius to the exploits of the transgendered Catalina de Erauso, this volume is the first to provide a comprehensive historical examination of the relations among race, gender, sexuality, nation-building, colonialism, and imperial expansion in medieval and early modern Iberia. Some essays consider archival evidence of sexual otherness or evaluate the use of “deviance” as a marker for cultural and racial difference, while others explore both male and female homoeroticism as literary-aesthetic discourse or attempt to open up canonical texts to alternative readings.
Positing a queerness intrinsic to Iberia’s historical process and cultural identity, Queer Iberia will challenge the field of Iberian studies while appealing to scholars of medieval, cultural, Hispanic, gender, and gay and lesbian studies.

Contributors. Josiah Blackmore, Linde M. Brocato, Catherine Brown, Israel Burshatin, Daniel Eisenberg, E. Michael Gerli, Roberto J. González-Casanovas, Gregory S. Hutcheson, Mark D. Jordan, Sara Lipton, Benjamin Liu, Mary Elizabeth Perry, Michael Solomon, Louise O. Vasvári, Barbara Weissberger


Queer Iberia proves to be a well-chosen and intelligently-edited anthology. The essays discuss genuinely interesting topics and historical figures.” — Lambda Book Report

“[A] wide-ranging inquiry into the multiform ways that medieval Iberia occupied an already queer space in medieval Europe.” — Karma Lochrie , Speculum

“[An] excellent collection of uniformly well-researched and well-written essays.” — Judy B. McInnis , Hispania 84

“[T]his is a first-rate and provocative collection, a must-read—even if to disagree with—not only for Hispanists, but for everyone else as well.” — Teofilo F. Ruiz , Renaissance Quarterly

“Blackmore and Hutcheson have assembled an admirable set of essays that, in general, are well written, critically current, and theoretically informed; this exciting and provocative collection will stand as a model for the kind of interdisciplinary and collaborative research that is invaluable to Iberomedievalists . . . .The celebration of queerness implicit in this project incites and indeed compels us to rethink the very idea of boundaries, to de-marginalize queerness and ‘make its presence inevitable rather than exceptional in our reading of historical process, literary creation, the deployment of discourse, and the formation of identities.’” — Dayle Seidenspinner-Núñez , La corónica

“Rarely does an academic tome of well over four hundred pages induce in its readers a page-turning gluttony, yet such is the case with this intellectual feast of a book that is as sumptuous as a carnival banquet consumed by the pre-Lenten revelers in the Book of Good Love . . . . This beautifully textured, provocative, endlessly insightful study will prove a landmark contribution to Iberian, gender, and queer studies, and early modern historiography, and hopefully pave the way for new inquiries into these intersecting fields.” — Leora Lev, Journal of the History of Sexuality

"Queer Iberia is of supreme importance because it focuses on a time period that is fundamental to the construction of nation, empire, and colony, and yet which is habitually under-represented in some scholars' and many students' thinking. . . . The book is indispensable to scholars working on issues related to the way that texts written in Spanish articulate difference, particularly in terms of gender. . . . It is a pleasure to see the depth of scholarship and synthetic thinking that went into Queer Iberia; it is an original contribution to research in the field that also serves as an inspiration: these essays prove that it is possible to be an adventurous thinker and a punctilious scholar, to have a smile on the face and a gleam in the eye-not of irritation, but of wit-as the dust of the archive rises and settles all around." — Mary S. Gossy , Hispanic Review

"This superbly produced book is more an invigorating breath of fresh air than a new broom to take to Medieval and Renaissance Hispanic studies. Yet, in its overall coherence and in its sheer bulk, in the liveliness, defiance and ebullience of some of its readings, it gives the dimension of queerness as defined by the editors a collective legitimacy. . . . Queer Iberia is bound to change in a significant way even the most stubbornly straight approaches to early texts." — Robert Archer, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

“An outstanding collection. The pieces are sharp, bold, well argued, and witty; the whole project is—above all—crucial to the much-needed expansion of the fields of Hispanic, postcolonial, and lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender studies.” — Carolyn Dinshaw, author of Getting Medieval

“In this provocative volume, an impressive collection of scholars, undaunted by a tradition of more solemn readings, train the powerful double lens of cultural and sexual difference on the medieval and early modern Iberian world, which turns out to be much more akin to our own than we might have suspected.” — Mary Gaylord, Harvard University


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Josiah Blackmore is Assistant Professor of Portuguese at the University of Toronto.

Gregory S. Hutcheson is Assistant Professor in the Department of Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments vii

Introduction / Gregory S. Hutcheson and Josiah Blackmore 1

I. Queering Iberia

Saint Pelagius, Ephebe and Martyr / Mark D. Jordan 23

"Affined to love the Moor": Sexual Misalliance and Cultural Mixing in the Cantigas d'escarnho e de mal dizer / Benjamin Liu 48

Queer Representation in the Arçipreste de Talavera, or, The Maldezir de mugeres Is a Drag / Catherine Brown 73

II. Iberian Masculinities

"Tanquam effeminatum": Pedro II of Aragon and the Gendering of Heresy in the Albigensian Crusade / Sara Lipton 107

The Semiotics of Phallic Aggression and Anal Penetration as Male Agonistic Ritual in the Libro de buen amor / Louise O. Vasvári 130

Male Bonding as Cultural Construction in Alfonso X, Ramon Llull, and Juan Manuel: Homosocial Friendship in Medieval Iberia / Roberto J. González-Casanovas 157

III. Sources of Sodom

The Poets of Sodom / Josiah Blackmore 195

Desperately Seeking Sodom: Queerness in the Chronicles of Alvaro de Luna / Gregory S. Hutcheson 222

Juan Ruiz's Heterosexual "Good Love" / Daniel Eisenberg 250

IV. Normativity and Nationhood

Fictions of Infection: Diseasing the Sexual Other in Francesc Eiximenis's Lo llibre de les dones / Michael Soloman 277

"!A tierra, puto!": Alfonso de Palencia's Discourse of Effeminacy / Barbara Weissberger 291

"Tened por espejo su fin": Mapping Gender and Sex in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Spain / Linde M. Brocato 325

V. The Body and the State

Dismembering the Body Politic: Vile Bodies and Sexual Underworlds in Celestina / E. Michael Gerli 369

From Convent to Battlefield: Cross-Dressing and Gender the Self in the New World of Imperial Spain / Mary Elizabeth Perry 394

Written on the Body: Slave or Hermaphrodite in Sixteenth-Century Spain / Israel Burshatin 420

Index 457

Contributors 475
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2349-5 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2326-6
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