Sex and Sexuality in Anglo-Saxon England: Essays in Memory of Daniel Gillmore Calder

Sex and Sexuality in Anglo-Saxon England: Essays in Memory of Daniel Gillmore Calder

Sex and Sexuality in Anglo-Saxon England: Essays in Memory of Daniel Gillmore Calder

Sex and Sexuality in Anglo-Saxon England: Essays in Memory of Daniel Gillmore Calder

Excerpt

Daniel G. Calder built his reputation as a scholar of Old English literature, most famously as someone with consummate skill in teasing out the implications of the formal structures of poetic texts. He wrote about Cynewulf's poetry, about Guthlac A and Guthlac B. He collaborated with Stanley B. Greenfield on the New Critical History of Old English Literature. He taught his students to be sensitive to the interplay of forms and meaning. Though he sensed that his own contribution to Anglo-Saxon studies lay elsewhere, he also taught us students to read theory and probe how shifting theoretical frameworks change the pictures scholars have of texts and culture, and attempted as well to persuade his fellow Anglo-Saxonists to open their minds to the light shed by critical theory and relate their work to the theoretical conversations of scholars in other areas of literature and cultural studies. He was interested in interdisciplinary perspectives and, as such, was a founder of the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists. Though he never published in the area of gender and sexuality, administratively he contributed to the development of the program in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies at UCLA, establishing and teaching the course “Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Studies” in 1992. This book honors Dan by uniting these aspects of his professional identity.

This book explores the cultural construction of sex, the sexes, and sexualities in Anglo-Saxon England. We take it as a given that while the physical shapes and reproductive functions of bodies have not changed remarkably in the last one thousand plus years (at least not until the very recent technologies of fertility), nonetheless the ways cultures have conceived of bodies have changed. Indeed, even at any one time and place, including Britain during the era of Anglo-Saxon domination, sex and sexuality are contentious topics, important to state and religion as well as to individuals and families.

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