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  • Print publication year: 2014
  • Online publication date: December 2014

13 - Homobonding and the Nation

from Part III - Enlightenment Cultures


This chapter considers the canon of English Renaissance literature in terms of the history of sexuality as it relates to relations between men. George Puttenham's history of English literature often is told in terms of relations between men. For him and for many literary historians since, Wyatt and Surrey initiate the literary history of his period; such pairings can be seen in modern literary histories that find the male couple - Sidney and Spenser, Shakespeare and Marlowe, and Donne and Jonson. Surrey's elegy for Wyatt and Spenser's for Sidney suggest that elegy is a form in the period in which male-male desire often is articulated. In his epic, however much Milton celebrates the wedded love of Adam and Eve, he also is intent on Adam's relationship with Raphael, and beyond that, a depiction of the sexual relations of angels as a model for human relatedness.

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