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12th March 2024 Ana Bradley (2023, English)

Exeter College lecturer publishes Medieval Sex Lives

Exeter College lecturer in music and St Hugh’s College fellow Professor Elizabeth Eva Leach has recently published her latest book, Medieval Sex Lives. Published in December 2023 by Cornell University Press, the book combines the study of poetry and music to examine the ‘power of courtly songs to model, inspire, and support sexual behaviours and fantasies.’

Drawn from analysis of the Bodleian Library’s Douce 308 manuscript, Professor Leach’s work enquires after the endurance of the lyric tradition of courtly love, as well as the manuscript’s importance to its owners, readers, and compilers. It also outlines a fresh perspective on ‘alternative sexualities and queer interpretations of songs,’ placing Professor Leach’s research firmly into contemporary conversations on gender and sexuality.

Medieval Sex Lives has been well-received — it was described as ‘provocative’ and a ‘tour de force’ by reviewers. Professor Leach was also interviewed about the book by the New Books Network podcast at the beginning of January.

Medieval Sex Lives promises to be a unique and enlightening read. It is available for purchase here, and for Professor Leach’s New Books Network interview, click here.

Medieval Sex Lives

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