Beattie, Cordelia. 2007. Medieval Single Women: The Politics of Social Classification in Late Medieval England. Oxford University Press, Oxford. ISBN 978-0-19-928341-5
A study of the classification and meaning of female singlehood.
I had planned to start covering Krimmer's In the Company of Men this week, but my guest blogger hasn't had a chance to review the potential posting yet, so instead I'm going back to the topic of singlewomen, this time with a monograph specifically looking at late medieval England. There is no specifically lesbian content in this study. Rather, it falls in the category of "deep background" because it covers social issues that would be of particular interest when creating historic lesbian characters, in particular, the situation for a woman who might choose to live her life outside of a heterosexual marriage. One might think that, historically, most women who experienced and acted on desire for other women would do it within the same social structures as other women and thus would be subject to the same pressures to marry. But (from a modern novelist's point of view) one of the most fascinating aspects of studying singlewomen is how "normal" it could be in certain times and places for a woman not to marry and to live as a legally independent adult.
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