Same-Sex Desire in the English Renaissance
A Sourcebook of Texts, 1470-1650
Routledge – 2004 – 440 pages
The readings gathered here include many rare texts that have not been reprinted for centuries, excerpted from biblical commentary, legal writings, medical and scientific writings, popular encyclopedias, and literature, as well as continental vernacular and Latin sources never before available in English translation. The selections are assembled in ten chapters addressing particular discursive fields - Theology, Law, Medicine, Astrology, Physiognomics, Encyclopedias and Reference Works, Prodigious Monstrosities, Love and Friendship, the Sapphic Renaissance, and Erotica. Each chapter includes a substantial introduction summarizing its topic and its relation to early modern homoeroticism. The volume also poignantly addresses key issues in Renaissance thinking about sexual identity, and newly clarifies central problems and debates in the historiography of same-sex love.
"Borris has assembled a selection of primary texts that is absolutely unequaled by any other anthology. Instead of simply reflecting the current state of scholarship on homosexuality-what one expects in anthologies like this one-Borris pursues an original and timely argument that should make his book command attention in its own right, quite apart from the texts he has gathered. There is nothing like the panoply of texts from so many different fields of discourse that Borris has assembled in Same-Sex Desire. A signal excellence of Borris's collection is the way it maintains a central focus on English texts and yet ranges widely among texts originally produced in Italy, France, Spain, and Germany. That range should make the volume useful to professors of literature and cultural studies in disciplines other than English." -- Bruce R. Smith, University of Southern California
Kenneth Borris is Professor of English at McGill University. He is author of Spenser's Poetics of Prophecy and Allegory and Epic in English Renaissance Literature: Heroic Form in Sidney, Spenser, and Milton. He is coeditor of The Affectionate Shepherd: Celebrating Richard Barnfield. He is a recipient of the MacCaffrey Award and a Canada Research Fellowship.