SEL: Studies in English Literature 1500-1900

SEL Studies in English Literature 1500-1900
Volume 46, Number 3, Summer 2006
Special Issue: Friendship and Same-Sex Love

CONTENTS

    Gonda, Caroline.
  • Introduction: Friendship and Same-Sex Love
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    Abstract:
      Drawing on poems, letters, essays and fiction, art and music, this collection reveals a rich mixture of early modern subjects' sexual self-fashioning, their negotiations with the dominant culture and with the demands of sexual and gender norms, and the ways in which that culture in turn sought to frame and contain queer subjects. The complexities of friendship and same-sex love explored here encompass public and private, sexual and non-sexual intimacy. Given the inadequacy of modern taxonomies in dealing with these complex forms, the history of sexuality here requires a queer sensibility based on emotional and intellectual flexibility and inclusiveness.
    Andreadis, Harriette.
  • Re-Configuring Early Modern Friendship: Katherine Philips and Homoerotic Desire
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    Subject Headings:
    • Philips, Katherine, 1631-1664 -- Criticism and interpretation.
    • Philips, Katherine, 1631-1664 -- Correspondence.
    • Female friendship in literature.
    • Female friendship -- England -- History -- 17th century.
    Abstract:
      This essay examines anew Katherine Philips's considerable debt to the discourse of male friendship so pervasive in early modern translations of the classics and in the English treatises derived from them. That debt is apparent in the ideology of the union of the souls of friends—in the notion of soul fusion—that animates her poetry and in the friendships memorialized in her letters to "Berenice" and Sir Charles Cotterell. The essay argues that Philips was committed to bringing the precepts of male friendship into her own eroticized friendships with women and that she sought to create among her own circle of friends the same kinds of networks of chosen kinship that were traditionally available to men.
    Haggerty, George E.
  • Queering Horace Walpole
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    Subject Headings:
    • Walpole, Horace, 1717-1797 -- Correspondence.
    • Walpole, Horace, 1717-1797 -- Friends and associates.
    Abstract:
      What does it mean to talk about sexuality in the eighteenth century? What can historians of sexuality accomplish without the keyhole testimonies that prove our subjects had sex with members of their own gender? In this essay, George Haggerty considers the case of Horace Walpole. He looks at Walpole's friendships, his style and effeminacy, his wit and taste, his politics and public life, as a way of understanding what it is possible to say about Horace Walpole the man. Rather than pinning Walpole down with one identity or another, we should let the letters speak for themselves.
    King, Thomas Alan.
  • The Castrato's Castration
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    Subject Headings:
    • Castrati.
    • Music -- Social aspects -- England -- History.
    • Masculinity -- England -- History.
    • Music -- Philosophy and aesthetics.
    Abstract:
      Arguments that English fascination with operatic castrati indicates a crisis in gender relations assume that masculinity rests on a foundation (the "sexed body") equally available to all male-born individuals prior to the particular situations in which they encounter each other. How the castrati sounded to their audiences cannot be considered independently of the relations (spatial, political, economic, erotic) his voice could signify. Contemporary satires of castrati remark a struggle between the public representativeness of the courtly aristocracy and the emergent publicness of propertied, private men. "Gender" performs men's membership in a public sphere enabled by opposition to operatic effeminacy.
    Morris, Marilyn, 1957-
  • Transgendered Perspectives on Premodern Sexualities
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    Subject Headings:
    • Montagu, Mary Wortley, Lady, 1689-1762 -- Friends and associates.
    • Hervey, John Hervey, Baron, 1696-1743 -- Friends and associates.
    • Friendship -- Great Britain -- History -- 18th century.
    Abstract:
      The varied and complex emotional attachments formed by John, Lord Hervey and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu over the course of their lives demonstrate the inadequacies of modern sexual taxonomies for understanding the nature of premodern intimacy. The ways in which these two friends took on diverse, transgendered personas as they pursued a range of relationships provide a rich ground for exploring the connections between sexual desire and individual identity before the notion of sexual orientation existed.
    Mounsey, Chris, 1959-
  • Persona, Elegy, and Desire
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    Subject Headings:
    • Elegiac poetry, English -- 18th century -- History and criticism.
    • Mason, William, 1725-1797 -- Criticism and interpretation.
    • Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771 -- Criticism and interpretation.
    • Persona (Literature)
    • Desire in literature.
    Abstract:
      The paper explores a theory of persona expounded by John Clendon in 1710. We see that the theory depicts an eighteenth-century understanding that people had multiple and discontinuous personae, some of which may be public and others private. The same idea is noted in the elegy as William Shenstone theorizes it. As an example, the paper concludes with a reading of William Mason's and Thomas Gray's elegaic poetry, suggesting that Robert Lloyd and George Colman's satires demonstrate that one of Mason's and Gray's personae shows same-sex desire for each other.
    O'Donnell, Katherine, 1966-
  • "Dear Dicky," "Dear Dick," "Dear Friend," "Dear Shackleton": Edmund Burke's Love for Richard Shackleton
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    Subject Headings:
    • Burke, Edmund, 1729-1797 -- Friends and associates.
    • Shackleton, Richard, 1726-1792 -- Friends and associates.
    • Male friendship -- Great Britain -- History -- 18th century.
    Abstract:
      This article shows how poetry and letters that Edmund Burke wrote to Richard Shackleton remain a testament to the young Burke's remarkably perverse reaction to heterosexual intercourse and marriage and give a moving record of his passion for Shackleton, a passion whose delight, intensity, heart-break, anxiety, jealousy, and masochism, exceeded the decorum of friendship as it was understood in eighteenth-century British culture. The article contextualizes Burke's passion for Dick in terms of the heritage of same-sex sworn friendships common in seventeenth-century English Catholic culture and proposes that this tradition is a useful context for understanding Burke given that he spent his boyhood among his mother's family, the Nagles of North Cork. We might read this up-bringing among the traditional society of the Catholic, Jacobite, crypto-aristocratic Nagles as resulting in the young Burke operating within a traditional understanding of same-sex sworn friendship that was out of step with the conception of what love meant and how it might be expressed between men in mid-eighteenth-century Britain. The shifting ground of male homosocial society of eighteenth-century Britain was increasingly more limited in expressions of love allowed between men.
    Roulston, Christine.
  • Framing Sensibility: The Female Couple in Art and Narrative
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    Subject Headings:
    • Art, Modern -- 18th century.
    • Art, British.
    • Women in art.
    Abstract:
      This essay will examine how portraits of sisters and other female pairings have been culturally coded to produce certain types of readings; through a comparative analysis of a variety of sisters portraits from the Renaissance to the early nineteenth century, as well as the work of Denis Diderot, we will show how the construction of female intimacy shifted between presenting a safe form of domestication on the one hand, and a questioning and subverting of familial and heterosexual relations on the other. We will argue that it is perhaps because feminine bonding was perceived to require less surveillance and to be inherently safe that the boundaries of intimacy in paintings and narratives were allowed more varied permutations.
    Wall, Cynthia, 1959-
  • Recent Studies in the Restoration and Eighteenth Century
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    Subject Headings:
    • English literature -- Early modern, 1500-1700 -- History and criticism -- Bibliography.
    • English literature -- 18th century -- History and criticism -- Bibliography.
    Abstract:
      An assessment of recent scholarly work treating the literature of the Restoration and Eighteenth Century and some general observations on the state of the profession. A full bibliography and price list of the works received by SEL for consideration follow.



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