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Between passion and lust: Framing male desire in early modern Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies. (UGPS)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1146-8982
2017 (English)In: Framing Premodern Desires: Sexual Ideas, Attitudes and Practices in Europe / [ed] Satu Lidman, Meri Heinonen, Tom Linkinen, and Marjo Kaartinen, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2017, p. 211-232Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In distinguishing desire-as-appetite from romantic or ‘true love’, William Reddy has posited what he claims to be a unique Western conceptual dualism that first evolved during the High Middle Ages.[i] While desire-as-appetite conforms to the Christian concept of the flesh, romantic love was according to Reddy an attempt to overcome this polarization by spiritualizing and moderating sexual desire into a sublime, purified feeling of ‘true love’. Reddy’s study encompasses the period 800-1200. With the Reformation, celibacy was no longer an ideal, though the distinction between what was seen as spiritually passionate love and indiscriminate carnal desire continued to be of relevance not the least in terms of gender. The aim of this paper is to provide examples of how male sexual desire was problematized within three arenas in early modern Sweden – medical theory, the courts of justice and literary culture. It will be claimed that the early modern period saw a shift in all these arenas, toward a more pronounced understanding of male sexual desire as irrefutable and imperatively compelled to find an immediately outlet. Woman as temptress was overshadowed by the male seducer. The freer rein given to male sexual lust was however tempered by new threats from masturbation and venereal disease, both real and imagined

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2017. p. 211-232
Series
Crossing Boundaries Turku Medievel and Early Modern Studies ; 9
Keywords [en]
Desire, Passion, Lust, Masculinity
National Category
Humanities and the Arts
Research subject
History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-156163ISBN: 9789089649843 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-156163DiVA, id: diva2:1286352
Available from: 2019-02-06 Created: 2019-02-06 Last updated: 2019-02-06

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf