LGBTQ+ History Month Reading Club: Medieval

Rachel Moss, Lecturer in History recommends:

Seeing Sodomy in the Middle Ages: Robert Mills (Chicago, 2015)

Densely written and packed with complex case studies, this lavishly illustrated leviathan of a book requires careful attention; it’s not a casual read. Nevertheless, this sensitive, imaginative work is bound to become a classic among studies of pre-modern gender and sexuality. Art historian Robert Mills masterfully uncovers the meaning of “sodomy” in the Middle Ages, revealing a complex history far beyond the “unspeakable vice” of a specific sex act associated with that word.

Mills resists either a heteronormative reading of medieval gender and sexuality, or a supposedly “queer” reading of sodomy that has “an overriding emphasis on male experiences”. This generous, thought-provoking book is as interested in lesbian and transgender lives as it is in gay male experience, and the result is a richly rewarding study of queer possibility in the Middle Ages.

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