Introduction: History of Desire, Desire for History: The Queer Cryptology Project

  • Anna Kłosowska
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Several years ago, I started writing a book on women’s friendships. I was interested in the irreconcilable differences between two discourses: medieval theory of friendship versus friendship’s fictional mise en scène in vernacular romances. Medieval theory of friendship, represented by con¬duct manuals, moral treatises, and other texts, was influenced by Aristotle and by Cicero’s Laelius de amicitia, a text that presented multiple, interested, episodic, pleasant friendships as a foil against which it defined a single, per¬manent, perfect friendship between two equals. French writers from Andreas Capellanus (De Amore, book 3) to Montaigne inherited that dichotomy. Women, as social subordinates bound to a tight network of potentially conflicting loyalties, are excluded from the ideal friendship. According to this theory, women’s principal contribution with respect to friendship is to ruin friendships between men.


Queer Theory Epistemic Break Medieval Text Thematic Site Feminist Historian 
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© Anna Kłosowska 2005

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  • Anna Kłosowska

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