Getting Medieval: Sexualities and Communities, Pre- and Postmodern

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Duke University Press, Sep 22, 1999 - History - 345 pages
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DIVIn Getting Medieval Carolyn Dinshaw examines communities—dissident and orthodox—in late-fourteenth and early-fifteenth-century England to create a new sense of queer history. Reaching beyond both medieval and queer studies, Dinshaw demonstrates in this challenging work how intellectual inquiry into pre-modern societies can contribute invaluably to current issues in cultural studies. In the process, she makes important connections between past and present cultures that until now have not been realized.
In her pursuit of historical analyses that embrace the heterogeneity and indeterminacy of sex and sexuality, Dinshaw examines canonical Middle English texts such as the Canterbury Tales and The Book of Margery Kempe. She examines polemics around the religious dissidents known as the Lollards as well as accounts of prostitutes in London to address questions of how particular sexual practices and identifications were normalized while others were proscribed. By exploring contemporary (mis)appropriations of medieval tropes in texts ranging from Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction to recent Congressional debates on U.S. cultural production, Dinshaw demonstrates how such modern media can serve to reinforce constrictive heteronormative values and deny the multifarious nature of history. Finally, she works with and against the theories of Michel Foucault, Homi K. Bhabha, Roland Barthes, and John Boswell to show how deconstructionist impulses as well as historical perspectives can further an understanding of community in both pre- and postmodern societies.
This long-anticipated volume will be indispensible to medieval and queer scholars and will be welcomed by a larger cultural studies audience.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LizaHa - LibraryThing

There is a lot to love here. I didn't think I cared about Medieval history, but this book made me realize it is actually related to the only thing I care about anymore, queer community. Read full review

Review: Getting Medieval: Sexualities and Communities, Pre- and Postmodern

User Review  - Liza - Goodreads

There is a lot to love here. I didn't think I cared about Medieval history, but this book made me realize it is actually related to the only thing I care about anymore, queer community. Read full review

Contents

It Takes One to Know One Lollards Sodomites and Their Accusers
55
Good Vibrations JohnEleanor Dame Alys the Pardoner and Foucault
100
Margery Kempe Answers Back
143
Getting Medieval Pulp Fiction Foucault and the Use of the Past
183
Notes
207
Bibliography
305
Copyright

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Page 17 - Historicism contents itself with establishing a causal connection between various moments in history. But no fact that is a cause is for that very reason historical. It became historical posthumously, as it were, through events that may be separated from it by thousands of years.
Page 51 - From a real body, which was there, proceed radiations which ultimately touch me, who am here; the duration of the transmission is insignificant; the photograph of the missing being, as Sontag says, will touch me like the delayed rays of a star.
Page 14 - our" problem is how to have simultaneously an account of radical historical contingency for all knowledge claims and knowing subjects, a critical practice for recognizing our own "semiotic technologies" for making meanings, and a. no-nonsense commitment to faithful accounts of a "real...
Page 14 - The knowing self is partial in all its guises, never finished, whole, simply there and original; it is always constructed and stitched together imperfectly, and therefore able to join with another, to see together without claiming to be another.

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About the author (1999)

DIV

Carolyn Dinshaw is Professor of English and Director of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at New York University. She is author of Chaucer’s Sexual Poetics and Chaucer and the Text: Two Views of the Author and cofounding editor of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, also published by Duke University Press.

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