Cambridge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture: Series Number 42: The Renaissance of Lesbianism in Early Modern England

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The Renaissance of Lesbianism in Early Modern England is the eagerly-awaited study by the feminist scholar who was among the first to address the issue of early modern female homoeroticism. Valerie Traub analyzes the representation of female-female love, desire and eroticism in a range of early modern discourses, including poetry, drama, visual arts, pornography and medicine. Contrary to the silence and invisibility typically ascribed to lesbianism in the Renaissance, Traub argues that the early modern period witnessed an unprecedented proliferation of representations of such desire. By means of sophisticated interpretations of a comprehensive set of texts, the book not only charts a crucial shift in representations of female homoeroticism over the course of the seventeenth century, but also offers a provocative genealogy of contemporary lesbianism. A contribution to the history of sexuality and to feminist and queer theory, the book addresses current theoretical preoccupations through the lens of historical inquiry.