Before the Closet: Same-Sex Love from Beowulf to Angels in America / Edition 2

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Since the publication of John Boswell's Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality, historians have accepted the 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. In this extraordinary study, Allen J. Frantzen challenges this long-held belief, showing that the early medieval Church did not tolerate same-sex acts, and, furthermore, that men and women during this time who preferred homosexual relations pursued their desires in spite of official sanctions. The early medieval period was, Frantzen argues, an age before people recognized the existence - or the possibility - of the "closet."
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Editorial Reviews

A dazzling survey, performed with masterful linguistic care, [making a] frontal attack on the practice of 'queer theory'…The book is a delight. A more definitive view is not likely to come along for quite some time.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226260921
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2000
  • Series: University of Chicago Geography Research Papers
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Straightforward 1
Pt. 1 Trouser Roles and Transvestites
1 What's Love Got to Do with It? 33
2 Kiss and Tell: Anglo-Saxon Tales of Manly Men and Women 68
Pt. 2 The Anglo-Saxons
3 Surveying Same-Sex Relations in the Early Middle Ages 111
4 The Sociology of Sex in Anglo-Saxon Laws and Penitentials 138
5 The Shadow of Sodom: Same-Sex Relations in Pastoral Prose and Poetry 184
Pt. 3 From Angles to Angels
6 Sex and the Anglo-Saxons from the Norman Conquest to the Renaissance 231
7 Alla, Angli, and Angels in America 264
Afterword: Me and My Shadows 293
Notes 309
Index 359
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