"O that equal Loves might inspire thee and me:" Subjective Readings of Homonormativity and the Metaphor of Love in Elizabethan Pastoral Literature, and Late Renaissance Pastoral Elegy
Werner, Corey Michael
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This project focuses on the intimate bonds of male same-sex love and friendship that either co-existed, or existed within the mode of pastoral during the English Renaissance. By using psychoanalysis and queer theory, as well as close readings of the ancient Greeks and Romans, I attempt to prove that not only is the pastoral an inherently homoerotic space, but that using it anticipates Jacques Lacan's notion of the "metaphor of love," through Laurie Shannon's and Valerie Traub's findings on "homonormativity,"—the privileged status of relationships between men during the 16th and 17th centuries. A strong correlation between same-sex love and the pastoral space and genre seems to have existed up until the long18th century, when changes in theology, philosophy, poetry, rhetoric, and identity disallowed for the continuance of homonormative relationships, thereby undermining the metaphor of love, and leaving the pastoral behind as no longer a mode of poetic consideration to be taken seriously.