The Lesbian Premodern invites key scholars in the field of lesbian and sexuality studies to take part in an innovative conversation that offers a radical new methodology for writing lesbian history and geography. Engaging premodernists as well as those interested primarily in modern lesbian history and literature, this book draws new conclusions on the important and often overlooked theoretical, empirical and textual work being done on female same-sex desire and identity in relation to premodern cultures.
"The editors of The Lesbian Premodern have gathered here the work of some of the most prominent and accomplished scholars of pre- and early modern female sexualities. In the brilliantly conceived and executed latter part of the book they bring provocative scholars of later periods into conversation with this medieval and early modern scholarship. The result is a dynamic interrogation of fundamental concepts, demonstrating vividly how this pre- and early modern material impacts the entire field." - Carolyn Dinshaw,New York University
"It has been the case for some time now that the most rigorous and mind-bending queer scholarship focuses on medieval and early modern sexualities. This collection represents what is best in this work, and clears the way for an open-ended conversation across periods. Prepare to be schooled in the pleasures of anachronism." - Heather Love, University of Pennsylvania
"The Lesbian Premodern’s editors have collected a rich and flexible set of texts that speak to and out of myriad sources to discover sites where same-sex desire might be discerned in small gaps in the history of the inaudible . . . The Lesbian Premodern’s daring derives from its editors’ purposeful gathering of texts that tangle temporalities to make a nonmodern lesbian - italics and quotation mark free - typographically possible." - Michèle Aina Barale, Amherst College
"The Lesbian Premodern is a stunning achievement in laying the groundwork for a long overdue transhistorical sexuality studies, one that does not assume simplistic diachronicities between the past and present, but which instead tracks and problematizes the complex and untimely traffic between ‘Then’ and ‘Now’ . . . . What emerges is a potent and unprecedented framework for the writing of new lesbian histories and theories, as well as the forging of new relational virtualities between scholars who might otherwise never ‘hook up’." - Eileen A. Joy, editor of postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies and Lead Ingenitor, BABEL Working Group
Preface: Lesbian Studies Meets the Premodern; K.Lochrie
Introduction: The Lesbian Premodern; N.Giffney, M.M.Sauer & D.Watt
PART I: THEORIES AND HISTORIOGRAPHIES
'The Present Future of Lesbian Historiography'; V.Traub
''A Wrangling Parliament': Terminology and Audience in Medieval European Literary Studies and Lesbian Studies'; A.Laskaya
'Lesbian History and Erotic Reading'; L.Farina
'The Queer Time of the Lesbian Premodern'; C.Freccero
''Virgins' and 'Not Women': Dissident Gender Positions'; T.Jankowski
PART II: READINGS AND HISTORIES
'Virgin Desires: Reading a Homoerotics of Female Monastic Community'; L.M.C.Weston
'Medieval Barbie Dolls: Femme Fatales in Ascetic Collections'; A.Klosowska
'Naming Love: The God Kama, the Goddess Ganga and the Child of Two Women'; R.Vanita
'Remembering Elizabeth Etchingham and Agnes Oxenbridge'; J.M.Bennett
'Towards a Philology of the Premodern Lesbian'; H.Puff
PART III: ENCOUNTERS WITH THE LESBIAN PREMODERN
'Lesbian Time'; H.Bauer
'A Usable Past?'; L.Faderman
'Sacramentality and the Lesbian Premodern'; E.Freeman
'Invention is the Necessity of Lesbians'; L.Garber
'Lesbian Ghosts'; M.Vicinus
Afterword: The Lesbian Premodern Meets the Lesbian Postmodern; R.Wiegman
NOREEN GIFFNEY Lecturer in Women's Studies in the Department of Sociology at the University of Limerick, Ireland.
MICHELLE M. SAUER Associate Professor of English and Women Studies at the University of North Dakota, USA.
DIANE WATT Professor of English Literature in the Department of English and Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University, UK.