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Valentine’s Day Medieval Love: Books for that special someone

UnknownHandbook of Medieval Sexuality

Author: Vern L. Bullough and James Brundage

Publisher: Routledge (November 3, 1999)

Summary

Like specialists in other fields in humanities and social sciences, medievalists have begun to investigate and write about sex and related topics such as courtship, concubinage, divorce, marriage, prostitution, and child rearing. The scholarship in this significant volume asserts that sexual conduct formed a crucial role in the lives, thoughts, hopes and fears both of individuals and of the institutions that they created in the middle ages. The absorbing subject of sexuality in the Middle Ages is examined in 19 original articles written specifically for this “Handbook” by the major authorities in their scholarly specialties. The study of medieval sexuality poses problems for the researcher: indices in standard sources rarely refer to sexual topics, and standard secondary sources often ignore the material or say little about it. Yet a vast amount of research is available, and the information is accessible to the student who knows where to look and what to look for. This volume is a valuable guide to the material and an indicator of what subjects are likely to yield fresh scholarly rewards.

love-sex-marriage-in-middle-ages-sourcebook-conor-mccarthy-paperback-cover-artLove, Sex and Marriage in the Middle Ages: A Sourcebook

Author: Conor McCarthy

Publisher: Routledge (November 15, 2003)

Summary

The emotional state of love, the physical act of sex and the social institution of marriage were central issues of medieval life. Conor McCarthy brings together a wide array of writings as well as informative introductions and explanations, to give a vivid impression of how love, sex and marriage were discussed at the time.

Included are extracts from literary and theological works, medical and legal writings, conduct books, chronicles and letters. They range from well-known texts such as the letters of Abelard and Heloise, Beowulf and the Canterbury Tales to less familiar sources such as Church legislation or court proceedings. The breadth of material shows the diverse and sometimes disparate approaches to love, sex and marriage in medieval culture and illustrates contemporary attitudes and ideologies. The collection includes some material available in Modern English for the first time.

philosophical-chaucer-love-sex-and-agency-in-the-canterbury-talesPhilosophical Chaucer: Love, Sex, and Agency in the Canterbury Tales (Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature)

Author: Mark Miller

Publisher: Cambridge University Press (February 21, 2005)

Summary

While most Chaucer critics interested in gender and sexuality have used psychoanalytic theory to analyze Chaucer’s poetry, Mark Miller re-examines the links between sexuality and the philosophical analysis of agency in medieval texts such as the Canterbury Tales, Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy, and the Romance of the Rose. Chaucer’s philosophical sophistication provides the basis for a new interpretation of the emerging notions of sexual desire and romantic love in the late Middle Ages.

This study examines the relationship between Chaucer’s philosophical interests and his representations of love, sexuality and gender. While most Chaucer critics interested in gender and sexuality have used psychoanalytic theory to read Chaucer’s poetry, Mark Miller re-examines the links between sexuality and the philosophical analysis of agency in medieval texts such as the Canterbury Tales, Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy, and the Romance of the Rose. Chaucer’s philosophical sophistication provides the basis for a new account of the notions of sexual desire and romantic love emerging in the late Middle Ages.

9780684839813-1The Illustrated Koka Shastra: Medieval Indian Writings on Love Based on the Kama Sutra

Author: Alex Comfort & Charles Fowkes

Publisher: Simon & Schuster (September 12, 1997)

Summary

The Illustrated Koka Shastra explores all matters sexual, from setting the mood to explicit instruction on technique. In this edition, Comfort’s translation is supplemented with explanatory notes and commentary. Explicit images drawn from a collection of ancient Indian paintings and sculptures – many never before published – complement and augment the classic text. This collection of instruction for intimate relations includes the complete text of the Koka Shastra and Ratimanjari, along with other significant medieval Indian writings on love such as the Ananga Ranga (the Stage of Love-God) and the Panchasaiyaka (the Five Arrows). This celebration of sex and sexuality is an invitation to explore a state of mind that accepts physical intimacy as a positive good and its elaboration as a natural part of life.

before-closet-same-sex-love-from-beowulf-angels-allen-j-frantzen-hardcover-cover-artBefore the Closet: Same-Sex Love from “Beowulf” to “Angels in America”

Author: Allen J. Frantzen

Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 1 edition (May 1, 2000)

Summary

Allen J. Frantzen challenges the long accepted view that the early Middle Ages tolerated and even fostered same-sex relations and that intolerance of homosexuality developed only late in the medieval period. Frantzen shows that in early medieval Europe, the Church did not tolerate same-sex acts, in fact it was an age before people recognized the existence—or the possibility—of the “closet.”

With its ambitious scope and elegant style, Before the Closet sets same-sex relations in Anglo-Saxon sources in relation to the sexual themes of contemporary opera, dance, and theatre. Frantzen offers a comprehensive analysis of sources from the seventh to the twelfth century and traces Anglo-Saxon same-sex behavior through the age of Chaucer and into the Renaissance.



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