Between Medieval Men: Male Friendship and Desire in Early Medieval English Literature

Paperback | March 15, 2013

byDavid Clark

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Between Medieval Men argues for the importance of synoptically examining the whole range of same-sex relations in the Anglo-Saxon period, revisiting well-known texts and issues (as well as material often considered marginal) from a radically different perspective. The introductory chaptersfirst lay out the premises underlying the book and its critical context, then emphasise the need to avoid modern cultural assumptions about both male-female and male-male relationships, and underline the paramount place of homosocial bonds in Old English literature. Part II then investigates the construction of and attitudes to same-sex acts and identities in ethnographic, penitential, and theological texts, ranging widely throughout the Old English corpus and drawing on Classical, Medieval Latin, and Old Norse material. Part III expands the focus to homosocialbonds in Old English literature in order to explore the range of associations for same-sex intimacy and their representation in literary texts such as Genesis A, Beowulf, The Battle of Maldon, The Dream of the Rood, The Phoenix, and AElfric's Lives of Saints. During the course of the book's argument, David Clark uncovers several under-researched issues and suggests fruitful approaches for their investigation. He concludes that, in omitting to ask certain questions of Anglo-Saxon material, in being too willing to accept the status quo indicated by theextant corpus, in uncritically importing invisible (because normative) heterosexist assumptions in our reading, we risk misrepresenting the diversity and complexity that a more nuanced approach to issues of gender and sexuality suggests may be more genuinely characteristic of the period.

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Between Medieval Men argues for the importance of synoptically examining the whole range of same-sex relations in the Anglo-Saxon period, revisiting well-known texts and issues (as well as material often considered marginal) from a radically different perspective. The introductory chaptersfirst lay out the premises underlying the book ...

Dr David Clark is Lecturer in Old English at the University of Leicester.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:244 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:March 15, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199671176

ISBN - 13:9780199671175

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Table of Contents

Part I - IntroductoryIntroduction1. A Fine Romance? Wulf and Eadwacer, The Wife's Lament, and The Husband's MessagePart II - Same-sex Acts and Identities2. Germanic pederasty: the evidence of the Classical ethnographers3. Attitudes to same-sex acts in Anglo-Saxon England: earg, the penitentials, and OE baedling4. The changing face of Sodom, part I: the Latin tradition5. The changing face of Sodom, part II: the vernacular traditionPart III - Homosocial Bonds in OE Literature6. Destructive desire: sexual themes and same-sex relations in Genesis A7. Heroic desire? Male relations in Beowulf, Maldon, and The Dream of the Rood8. Monastic sexuality and same-sex procreation in The Phoenix9. Saintly desire: same-sex relations in AElfric's Lives of Saints10. Unorthodox desire: the Anonymous Life of Euphrosyne and the Colloquies of AElfric Bata

Editorial Reviews

"a sober, penetrating and comprehensive study of Anglo-Saxon literature...Clark's scholarly acumen waves like a banner above the whole project...`uhis is an impressive book by any standard, written by an equally impressive scholar" --Bill Burgwinkle, Review of English Studies