Session Title

Monastic Sexualities

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Syon Abbey Society

Organizer Name

Laura Saetveit Miles

Organizer Affiliation

Univ. i Bergen

Presider Name

Barbara Newman

Presider Affiliation

Northwestern Univ.

Paper Title 1

"Owre lorde putt his . . . mowth to hyr . . . Mowth": Language as Lack and Metaphor as Presence in the Writing of Mechtild of Hackeborn

Presenter 1 Name

Liz Herbert McAvoy

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Swansea Univ.

Paper Title 2

The Manly Monk: The Role of Sexualized Chastity in Monastic Gender Identity

Presenter 2 Name

Jennifer D. Thibodeaux

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Univ. of Wisconsin-Whitewater

Paper Title 3

Canor, Calor, Dulcor, Tactus: Nicholas Love’s Erotic Rhetoric

Presenter 3 Name

Michael G. Sargent

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Queens College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Start Date

10-5-2014 10:00 AM

Session Location

Schneider 1280

Description

This session offers an opportunity for scholars to discuss the paradoxical issue of sexuality in medieval monasteries. Though the cloister ostensibly required physical celibacy, monks and nuns found many ways to express varieties of sexuality through their art, writing, and devotion. Christ was lover and spouse; mystical union with him could be figured in terms that would make most lay husbands and wives blush. Desire formed the basis of much metaphorical devotional language, and the praying body became a very much awake and sexualized agent despite the prohibitions against obeying the will of the flesh. The goal of this session is to bring into conversation different case studies of ways in which a variety of sexualities found expression in monastic contexts, throughout medieval Europe.

Laura Saetveit Miles

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May 10th, 10:00 AM

Monastic Sexualities

Schneider 1280

This session offers an opportunity for scholars to discuss the paradoxical issue of sexuality in medieval monasteries. Though the cloister ostensibly required physical celibacy, monks and nuns found many ways to express varieties of sexuality through their art, writing, and devotion. Christ was lover and spouse; mystical union with him could be figured in terms that would make most lay husbands and wives blush. Desire formed the basis of much metaphorical devotional language, and the praying body became a very much awake and sexualized agent despite the prohibitions against obeying the will of the flesh. The goal of this session is to bring into conversation different case studies of ways in which a variety of sexualities found expression in monastic contexts, throughout medieval Europe.

Laura Saetveit Miles