Sunday, July 4, 2010

Business as usual.

Been away. Moved across the country. Most of my books are in storage, though I did pay a visit to Wild Iris Books, my local lesbian feminist Ye Olde Crystal Shoppe slash bookstore. I got a second copy of Lillian Faderman's famous Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America; That Furious Lesbian: The Story of Mercedes de Acosta by a Robert A. Schanke (what a wonderful name! when he writes nasty reviews, one can say they got Schanked! hee!); Re-orienting Western Feminisms: Women's Diversity in a Postcolonial World by Chilla Bulbeck; and finally Evolution's Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People by Joan Roughgarden.

This last promises to tell me "why Darwin was wrong about sexual selection." I'm no geneticist, but do try to know a thing or two, so this should be interesting.

On a front that looks more like history, I'm currently doing research for my new SCA persona. I don't know her name yet, but she's a Bogomil woman living during the Second Bulgarian Empire in its capital city of Tarnovo. I picked the Bogomils because they're the same heresy family as the earlier Manicheans and the Cathars farther west. Bulgaria was infamous as a total rockin' hotbed of sodomy (say the word Bulgar quickly a few times and see what you get) and the Byzantines conquered and occupied it from 1018-1185 partially on the grounds of stomping it out. Persecution was officially fairly constant until they were conquered by the Ottomans, though it looks like the Bulgarians were also at war against other would-be conquerors the entire damn time so I don't know how much they could focus on internal troubles.

The other thing with this heresy, though, is that they thought women were entitled to equal rights legally and religiously. Way awesome, but of course everyone who heard about this contemporaneously had HUGE FITS. Women's Rights? In MY Middle Ages? It's more common than you think! There's no way I can't be all over this.

The book I'm currently reading to get a good handle on all the pieces is The Civilization of the Middle Ages by Norman E. Cantor. Textbook style, no post-chapter questions or anything but a good solid overview type thing. More specific books I have lined up are The Cathars by Sean Martin which looks like it has good coverage on the evolution and spread of the beliefs, Sex, Dissidence and Damnation: Minority Groups in the Middle Ages which I have not yet personally touched a copy of but Cantor recommends it, and some other ones on interlibrary loan that I can't remember which may or may not be useful. I'm hoping some cultural and social data shows up rather than just the theology, which is most of what I've got so far.

Cantor also recommends Boswell! I knew I liked him.

No comments: