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Forbidden Friendships: Homosexuality and Male Culture in Renaissance Florence
     

Forbidden Friendships: Homosexuality and Male Culture in Renaissance Florence

by Michael Rocke
 
The men of Renaissance Florence were so renowned for sodomy that "Florenzer" in German meant "sodomite". In this richly documented book, scholar Michael Rocke vividly depicts this vibrant sexual culture in a world where these same-sex acts were not seen as the deviant transgressions of a small minority, but as an integral part of a normal masculine identity.

Overview

The men of Renaissance Florence were so renowned for sodomy that "Florenzer" in German meant "sodomite". In this richly documented book, scholar Michael Rocke vividly depicts this vibrant sexual culture in a world where these same-sex acts were not seen as the deviant transgressions of a small minority, but as an integral part of a normal masculine identity. Illustrations.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
From the fiery sermons of Bernadino of Siena, Savanarola, as well as from general gossip, modern students of 15th-century Italy have long suspected that Florence witnessed a great amount of sodomy. Rocke, an independent scholar teaching in Florence, persuasively demonstrates that "homosexual behavior constituted a pervasive and integral part of male sexual experience, of the construction of male sexual identity, and forms of sociability." Using the city's rich judicial records, especially those of the Office of the Night, a magistracy set up to root out sodomy, Rocke shows that between 1432 and 1502 perhaps 17,000 menor one in two in a total population of about 40,000came to the attention of civil authorities for homosexual acts. Rocke presents a careful and nuanced appreciation of language and concepts of gender and sexual roles, but a solid conclusion would have further strengthened his case. The value of this highly important study rests on the book's lucid prose and its learned contribution to our understanding of human, or at least Western, sexuality.Bennett D. Hill, Georgetown Univ., Washington D.C.
From the Publisher
"A fascinating and groundbreaking study of the archives of the Office of the Night....All levels."—Choice

"Rocke presents a careful and nuanced appreciation of language and concepts of gender and sexual roles.... The value of this highly important study rests on the book's lucid prose and its learned contribution to our understanding of human, or at least Western, sexuality."—Library Journal

"This is a superb work of scholarship, impossible to overpraise.... It marks a milestone in the 20-year rise of gay and lesbian studies."—The Advocate

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195069754
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
10/31/1996
Series:
Studies in the History of Sexuality Series
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
6.44(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.22(d)

Meet the Author

Michael Rocke is the Nicky Mariano Librarian of the Biblioteca Berenson at Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, in Florence.

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