College of Arts and Sciences

Renaissance Studies


Works-in-Progress Workshop

Friday, November 18th, 3-4 pm
Ballantine Hall 141

I am pleased to announce the third meeting of our “Works-in-Progress Workshop”, a forum where members of the Renaissance Studies group can share and discuss their current research in a friendly and informal atmosphere.

Marc Schachter (Visiting Assistant Professor of French, Department of French and Italian) will discuss his book chapter titled “‘Je n’entends point bien ce mot’: Brantôme’s Lesbian Philology and the History of Sexuality.”

Brantôme’s “On Galante Ladies” includes a sustained discussion of sex between women that has drawn substantial critical attention. Many discussions of the “lesbian” section of the book address the anxiety sex between women seems to elicit. I extend and refine these observations in several ways. I consider how knowledge works in the text, paying particular attention to moments when Brantôme displays his erudition or claims not to understand something and to his paraphrases of Lucian. I also consider the hubris of Brantôme’s editors, who have identified mistakes in his text that are not in fact mistakes while missing one textual crux that might reveal something new about early modern accounts of sex between women (but in the end probably doesn’t). Finally, I try to situate the anxieties provoked by the “lesbian” section of the text—which have sometimes been read as generic threats to the reproductive order or patriarchal privilege—in the broader context of the work and the work’s own historical moment.

The pre-circulated paper will be made available upon request.

I hope to see you there!

Massimo Scalabrini
Director of Renaissance Studie