Arguing for renewed attention to covert same-sex-oriented writing (and to authorial intention more generally), this study explores the representation of female and male homosexuality in late sixteenth- through mid-eighteenth-century British and French literature.
The author also uncovers and analyzes long-term continuities in the representation of same-sex love, sex, and desire between the classical, early modern, eighteenth-century, and even modern periods. Among the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century authors and texts examined here are Mme de Murat, Les Memoires De Madame La Comtesse De M*** (1697); John Cleland, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1748-49); Tobias Smollett, The Adventures of Roderick Random (1748); Nicolas Chorier and Jean Nicolas, L'Academie des dames (1680); Delarivier Manley, The New Atalantis (1709); and Isaac de Benserade, Iphis et Iante (1637).
Classical texts brought into the discussion include Juvenal's Satires, Lucian's Erotes, and, most importantly, Ovid's Metamorphoses. Casting its net broadly yet exploring deeply-poems, plays, novels, and more; from the serious to the satiric, the polite to the pornographic; well-known and little-known; written in English, French, and Latin; published in early modern and eighteenth-century Britain and France; plus key classical texts-this study engages with the historiography of sexuality as a whole.