Book Series Arizona Studies in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, vol. 39

Eroticism in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance

Magic, Marriage, and Midwifery

Ian Moulton (ed)

  • Pages: 171 p.
  • Size:152 x 229 mm
  • Illustrations:17 b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2016

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-56788-4
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-56789-1
  • E-book
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The essays in this volume explore varied manifestations of medieval and early modern sexuality.


“With its glossary of specialist Latin, German, and Polish terms in translation, its comprehensive listing of archival and published sources, eight colour plates, and thirty-six pages of secondary literature, Urban Literacy in Late Medieval Poland should serve as a valuable vade mecum for scholars comparing the spread of literacy in East-Central Europe with that in Western Europe. More’s” (Robert Curry, in Parergon, 36/1, 2019, p. 185)


Magic rings; seductive she-devils; satyrs bound and whipped on stage; a woman sexually coerced in the confessional; a boy caught masturbating over a midwifery manual; a marriage of true minds between two men; a prince led to repentance at the sight of a naked girl prepared to give her life for his. These varied manifestations of medieval and early modern sexuality — each at the center of one of the essays in this volume — suggest the ubiquity and diversity of eroticism in the period. The erotic is the stuff of legend, but also of daily life. It is inextricable from relations of power and subordination and is plays a fundamental role in the heirarchical social structures of the period. The erotic is also very much a part of the spiritual realm, often in morally ambiguous ways.

The seven essays collected in this volume explore the role the erotic played in early modern notions of happiness or fulfillment, in clerical life, in Jewish legend, heretical magic and Christian marriage, in poetry, on the public stage, and in medical manuals.


Introduction: Magic, Marriage, Midwifery and More – IAN FREDERICK MOULTON

The Erotic and the Quest for Happiness in the Middle Ages: What Everybody Aspires To and Hardly Anyone Truly Achieves; Medieval Eroticism and Mysticism – ALBRECHT CLASSEN

The Erotic as Lewdness in Spanish and Mexican Religious Culture During the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries – ASUNCIÓN LAVRIN

Disarticulating Lilith: Notions of God’s Evil in Jewish Folklore – SHARONAH FREDRICK

Sex and the Satyr in the Pastoral Tradition: Isabella Andreini’s La Mirtilla as Pro-Feminist Erotica – ROSALIND KERR

Erotic Magic: Rings, Engraved Precious Gems and Masculine Anxiety– LILIANA LEOPARDI

Figuring Marital Queerness in Shakespeare’s Sonnets – DAVID L. ORVIS

Sexual Education and Erotica in the Popular Midwifery Manuals of Thomas Raynalde and Nicholas Culpeper – CHANTELLE THAUVETTE

List of Contributors