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Getting Medieval: Sexualities and Communities, Pre- and Postmodern (Series Q) Paperback – September 22, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Carolyn Dinshaw, a Chaucer scholar and cofounding editor of GLQ: A Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies, reveals exceptional erudition and playful good sense in her study of the contradictory medieval discourse on same-sex relations, with special attention to the 14th-century Lollard reform movement in England. At the crossroads between medieval studies and cultural studies, she both honors and argues with the groundbreaking historical projects of Michel Foucault, John Boswell, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Homi K. Bhabha. In addition to looking into Chaucer's The Cook's Tale, the Lollards' Twelve Conclusions, and other conventional fare, she flexes her poststructural muscles in weird but lively excursions into Robert Gluck's 1994 novel Margery Kempe and Quentin Tarantino's film Pulp Fiction. Ultimately, her aim is to suggest new ways of analyzing medieval sexual discourse, with its "indeterminacies, contradictions, slippages," and of making relations across time with those distant discourses, people, places, and things "in their very indeterminateness." --Regina Marler

Review

Getting Medieval is an examination of how fourteenth- and fifteenth-century England has influenced Western sensibilities and sexualities today. Chaucer, Pulp Fiction, and historical documents have, not surprisingly, small degrees of separation between them, and this exhaustively researched and detailed book discusses every line which can be drawn between each.” - Lambda Book Report


“[B]reathtaking. . . . Getting Medieval is clearly not your average book of medieval literary or cultural criticism, and it’s not intended only for specialists in those fields. . . [It] is a startling attempt to use aspects of medieval life and thought to make sense of the world we inhabit today and, conversely, to explore new meanings in what we know (or think we know) about life in the Middle Ages. . . . The power of Getting Medieval comes from Dinshaw’s ability—conveyed in engaging, witty, persuasive prose—to shock us into questioning the present day’s notions about the past.” - Michael Bronski, The Gay and Lesbian Review


Getting Medieval is not just for medievalists. . . . Dinshaw’s very personal, highly specific and precisely targeted vision should stimulate consideration of the meanings assigned and assignable to the medieval in the postmodern world.” - Wendy Scase, Times Higher Education Supplement


“[A] tour de force in its yoking together of disparate subjects, its imaginative use of small examples to support grand hypotheses, and its exposition of current prejudices. It is a queer patchwork of past and present, marked by numerous subjeadings and a swift movement between a relatively small number of medieval instances, a selection of theoretical works, and personal discussion. It is an intelligent, consciously perverse book – one that would be difficult to imitate successfully and perhaps requires or hopes to create a consciously perverse reader.” - Corinne Saunders, Medium Aevum


"Getting Medieval virtually overflows with information and ideas. . . . [Dinshaw] skillfully interweaves dozens of texts. . . . She provides rich social and historical contextualization. . . . Dinshaw makes an impassioned, well-buttressed argument for the importance of locating sexual nonconformists hidden within historical interstices." - Kathy Sisson, Sexuality and Culture


“A wonderful book. The things addressed are so heterogeneous—their sheer distance from one another is a kind of elegance.”—Robert Glück, San Francisco State University


“Carolyn Dinshaw is preeminent for the subtlety with which she discloses gendered turmoil in historically situated texts. I can hardly wait to have Getting Medieval on my own shelf, to have its adventurous deployments of ‘the touch of the queer’ available for frequent consultation.”—Paul Strohm, University of Oxford


“This book has a beautiful range, both among premodern English discourses and in postmodern theory, and Dinshaw really and truly does make these different textualities touch.”—Louise O. Fradenburg, University of California, Santa Barbara


Getting Medieval is an examination of how fourteenth- and fifteenth-century England has influenced Western sensibilities and sexualities today. Chaucer, Pulp Fiction, and historical documents have, not surprisingly, small degrees of separation between them, and this exhaustively researched and detailed book discusses every line which can be drawn between each.”
(Lambda Book Report)

Getting Medieval is not just for medievalists. . . . Dinshaw’s very personal, highly specific and precisely targeted vision should stimulate consideration of the meanings assigned and assignable to the medieval in the postmodern world.”
(Wendy Scase, Times Higher Education Supplement)

“[A] tour de force in its yoking together of disparate subjects, its imaginative use of small examples to support grand hypotheses, and its exposition of current prejudices. It is a queer patchwork of past and present, marked by numerous subjeadings and a swift movement between a relatively small number of medieval instances, a selection of theoretical works, and personal discussion. It is an intelligent, consciously perverse book – one that would be difficult to imitate successfully and perhaps requires or hopes to create a consciously perverse reader.”
(Corinne Saunders, Medium Aevum)

“[B]reathtaking. . . . Getting Medieval is clearly not your average book of medieval literary or cultural criticism, and it’s not intended only for specialists in those fields. . . [It] is a startling attempt to use aspects of medieval life and thought to make sense of the world we inhabit today and, conversely, to explore new meanings in what we know (or think we know) about life in the Middle Ages. . . . The power of Getting Medieval comes from Dinshaw’s ability—conveyed in engaging, witty, persuasive prose—to shock us into questioning the present day’s notions about the past.”
(Michael Bronski, The Gay and Lesbian Review)

"Getting Medieval virtually overflows with information and ideas. . . . [Dinshaw] skillfully interweaves dozens of texts. . . . She provides rich social and historical contextualization. . . . Dinshaw makes an impassioned, well-buttressed argument for the importance of locating sexual nonconformists hidden within historical interstices."
(Kathy Sisson, Sexuality and Culture)
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Product Details

  • Series: Series Q
  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (September 22, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822323656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822323655
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #464,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By jessbcuz VINE VOICE on December 11, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Carolyn Dinshaw, a well known medieval scholar, carefully considers how the "queering" of history can create communities across time, and more particularly, what she terms, a "touching". She works with theorists Bhabba, Benedict Anderson, Barthes, and Foucalt, in their writings on history, nationalism, sexuality, and marginalized communities in her look at such disparate sources as Chaucer, a medieval court document, and the post-modern film classic, Pulp Fiction in order to untangle the multiplicity of history and sexuality. Her approachable writing voice and use of a variety of sources makes this accessible by those who may not even be as interested in all things medieval. I am not, but still found this book interesting, especially in the way it approaches how we look at history and literature. This book was recommended by a medieval literature teacher, so it is reputable, but does not deserve to be left only to medievalists.
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