, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 349–366 | Cite as

Premodern trans and queer in French manuscripts and early printed texts

  • Anna Kłosowska
Original Article


Manuscript studies help understand the fluidity and variety of gender and sexuality. Ptolemy’s Quadripartitum explains non-binary gender by astral influences and provides a theory of gender variance and transition. In addition to a hundred manuscripts extant in Latin, translated into French c. 1350, it was accessible to a public not literate in Latin, and copies were kept in royal apartments, rather than in the main collection. Manuscript tradition also shows the importance of female saints living as men in late medieval contexts. In a sixteenth-century French sonnet circulating in manuscript, a female lyric subject taunts her male rival, describing their sexual and romantic competition for a bisexual female love interest. The concept of mouvance, an intervocal network of texts where each writer contributes by rewriting the text is also helpful in understanding the concepts of gender fluid, queer, and trans: the text does not lose its identity, and yet its diversity is not elided.



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Kłosowska
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of French and ItalianMiami UniversityOxfordUSA

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