Homosexuality in Early Modern Literature:

A Collection of Student-Edited Texts


General Editor:

Marie H. Loughlin, Associate Professor (Dept. of Critical Studies---University of British Columbia-Okanagan)


Student Editors:

Chandra Atherley

Carrie Blais

Sarah MacLeod

David Reid

Holly Smee

Jessica Veaudry

Kendall Willson


© 2007. All critical materials and annotations are copyrighted to the individual writer. Fair academic use (including use of the texts in classroom situations) is permitted with appropriate acknowledgment. For-profit use is forbidden.



Table of Contents


Marie H. Loughlin. “Introductory Note.”


Philip Stubbes. “Of Stage-Plays, and Interludes, with Their Wickedness.” Selections from The Anatomie of Abuses (1583). Introduced and edited by Carrie Blais.


Pierre de Bourdeilles, Seigneur de Brantôme. Selections from Lives of Fair and Gallant Ladies (c. mid 1580s?). Introduced and edited by Jessica Veaudry.


William Prynne. Selections from Histrio-mastix (1633). Introduced and edited by Sarah MacLeod.


Nicholas Bernard. The Penitent Death of a Woeful Sinner (1641). Introduced and edited by Chandra Atherley.


Anonymous. The Gardener at the Gallows: For Buggery Laid to his Charge (1667). Introduced and edited by Kendall Willson.


Anonymous. A True Narrative of the Proceedings at the Sessions-House in the Old Bailey (1677). Introduced and edited by Holly Smee.


Titus Oates. Selections from An Exact and Faithful Narrative of the Horrid Conspiracy . . . (1680). Introduced and edited by David Reid.

Introductory Note:


The annotated texts and critical introductions contained in this collection were part of the course work for English 347B: Homosexuality in Early Modern Literature (Jan-April, 2007). The seven upper-level students who worked to produce this collection faced several challenges. First, they had never edited or annotated any sort of text before, and second, the texts that were available for this project mostly lay outside the normal scope of expertise of upper-level undergraduates. I am very proud of their hard work, and I hope that the general reader will find that these varied texts (ranging from moral tracts to diatribes against the theatre to legal trials to sensational biography) offer interesting and (through the work of these students) accessible insights into the varied representations of same-sex desire in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England.

            Collectively, I believe that these texts (some complete, some excerpted from very long works) show the complex attitudes of early modern English society towards same-sex erotic activity, particularly the way both official accounts and popular texts represent ‘sodomy’ and ‘tribadism’ (as English texts of this period invariably refer to [respectively] homosexual acts between men, and between women) as encoding a wide variety of anxieties, fears and dreams about gender and the apparent instability of the period’s gender hierarchy, adultery, women’s same-sex relationships, theatrical cross-dressing, the increasingly slippery divide between humans and animals, as well as the growing animosity of religious and political debate.

            The editors invite feedback on their work, which can be sent to them through me at Marie.Loughlin@ubc.ca 


                                                                        Marie H. Loughlin, Associate Professor

                                                                        Department of Critical Studies (English)

                                                                        University of British-Columbia-Okanagan

                                                                        May 2007