Queering the Renaissance

Book Pages: 424 Illustrations: Published: December 1993

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

Queering the Renaissance offers a major reassessment of the field of Renaissance studies. Gathering essays by sixteen critics working within the perspective of gay and lesbian studies, this collection redraws the map of sexuality and gender studies in the Renaissance. Taken together, these essays move beyond limiting notions of identity politics by locating historically forms of same-sex desire that are not organized in terms of modern definitions of homosexual and heterosexual.
The presence of contemporary history can be felt throughout the volume, beginning with an investigation of the uses of Renaissance precedents in the 1986 U.S. Supreme Court decision Bowers v. Hardwick, to a piece on the foundations of 'our' national imaginary, and an afterword that addresses how identity politics has shaped the work of early modern historians. The volume examines canonical and noncanonical texts, including highly coded poems of the fifteenth-century Italian poet Burchiello, a tale from Marguerite de Navarre's Heptameron, and Erasmus's letters to a young male acolyte. English texts provide a central focus, including works by Spenser, Shakespeare, Bacon, Donne, Beaumont and Fletcher, Crashaw, and Dryden. Broad suveys of the complex terrains of friendship and sodomy are explored in one essay, while another offers a cross-cultural reading of the discursive sites of lesbian desire.

Contributors. Alan Bray, Marcie Frank, Carla Freccero, Jonathan Goldberg, Janet Halley, Graham Hammill, Margaret Hunt, Donald N. Mager, Jeff Masten, Elizabeth Pittenger, Richard Rambuss, Alan K. Smith, Dorothy Stephens, Forrest Tyler Stevens, Valerie Traub, Michael Warner


“[A]n excellent collection. . . [and] a rich and diverse survey of what queer studies and early modern scholarship have to offer each other.” — Canadian Review of Comparative Literature

“Although this text has as a prime concern to acknowledge the place of homosexuality in Renaissance culture, and remap fixed heterosexist norms in drama and poetry, it raises much wider questions regarding identity formation and sexual stereotyping. . . . [It] offers a model of methodological approach which seeks to embrace much wider critical definitions and terminologies than those all too normative assumptions surrounding Renaissance studies.” — Forum for Modern Language Studies

"[C]ontributes significantly to ongoing discussions of Cather, sexuality, and queer reading. . . . [Goldberg] succeeds brilliantly in probing those resonances, as he cuts into a text with the precision of a gifted surgeon. . . . [E]loquent and insightful. . . . [I]lluminating and generous in its analysis of the complicated politics of representation that arise when artists cross racial or ethnic lines." — Marilee Lindemann, Legacy

"An outstanding collection . . . Not only does it contribute importantly to emerging areas of gay/lesbian studies and the history of sexuality by historicizing what has been for the most part a relentlessly presentist field; it makes significant scholarly contributions to traditional fields in Renaissance studies." — Karen Newman, Brown University


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Jonathan Goldberg is the Sir William Osler Professor of English Literature at the Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of Sodometries: Renaissance Texts, Modern Sexualities.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Introduction / Jonathan Goldberg

Bowers v. Hardwick in the Renaissance / Janet E. Halley

Homosexuality and the Signs of Male Friendship in Elizabethan England / Alan Bray

The (In)Significance of "Lesbian" Desire in Early Modern England / Valerie Traub

Fraudomy: Reading Sexuality and Politics in Burchiello / Alan K. Smith

Practicing Queer Philology with Marguerite de Navarre: Nationalism and the Castigation of Desire / Carla Freccero

Erasmus's "Tigeress": The Language of Friendship, Pleasure, and the Renaissance Letter / Forrest Tyler Stevens

John Bale and Early Tudor Sodomy Discourse / Donald N. Mager

"To Serve the Queere": Nicholas Udall, Master of Revels / Elizabeth Pittenger

Into Other Arms: Amoret's Evasion / Dorothy Stephens

Romeo and Juliet's Open Rs / Jonathan Goldberg

The Epistemology of Expurgation: Bacon and The Masculine Birth of Time / Graham Hammill

Pleasure and Devotion: The Body of Jesus and Seventeenth-Century Religious Lyric / Richard Rambuss

My Two Dads: Collaboration and the Reproduction of Beaumont and Fletcher / Jeff Masten

Fighting Women and Loving Men: Dryden's Representation of Shakespeare in All for Love / Marcie Frank

New English Sodom / Michael Warner

Afterword / Margaret Hunt

Notes on Contributors

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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1385-4 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1381-6
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