Homoerotic Identifications

  • Richard E. Zeikowitz
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


In chivalric texts, whether chronicles, treatises, or romances, the narrator frequently describes an exemplary knight, implicitly inviting the reader/listener to imagine him.1 These texts motivate male readers who are novice knights—or who are merely enthusiastic spectators of knightly endeavors—to identify with model figures.2 Thus, inextricably linked to the discourse in chivalric texts celebrating the ideal qualities and successful exploits of perfectly built knights is one that engages the reader to identify with an imagined exemplary knight. Moreover, since chivalric texts often describe model knights in action, readers are prompted to imagine scenarios in which they in effect participate. Medieval theories of the imagination suggest that the mental images constructed and viewed by the mind’s eye can be quite vivid and potentially erotic.


Mental Image Male Reader Medieval Theory Male Hero Model Knight 
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  1. 2.
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© Richard E. Zeikowitz 2003

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