Personae, Same-Sex Desire, and Salvation in the Poetry of Marbod of Rennes, Baudri of Bourgueil, and Hildebert of Lavardin
Comitatus Vol.31 (2000)
In the Christian milieu of the western European medieval world, poets adopted a wide-range of stances—from the laudatory to the condemnatory — towards same-sex relations. Some monastic writers, however,
appear to conflate the two oppositional views, both praising male beauty in highly eroticized terms and damning men who fall to the pleasures of homoerotic desire. How is one to understand this apparent
contradiction in which the right hand of the poet seems to praise what the left hand proscribes, in which the writer anathematizes what appear to be his own sexual predilections? In this paper, I examine the paradox
of holy men expressing unholy desire in reference to three Franco-Latin writers of the early twelfth century: Marbod of Rennes, Baudri of Bourgueil, and Hildebert of Lavardin.