In this paper I adopt autoethnographic and creative writing practices to develop a new methodology for analyzing a selection of late medieval letters. I present three interlinked creative vignettes based on material from the Cely, Stonor and Paston letter collections as a non-traditional means of accessing the homosocial content of the texts. I argue that in late medieval English letters we find elite men recounting their use of outdoor spaces (an orchard, a garden, a rabbit warren) as a place to facilitate and strengthen homosocial bonds. These episodes show that using outdoor spaces allowed men to potentially relax social hierarchies in ways that permitted emotional vulnerability and social bonding; they also facilitated casual misogyny and even sexual assault. This essay contains discussions of rape.
|Journal||Medieval Feminist Forum|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 19 Aug 2022|
- homosociality, medieval history, fifteenth-century history, autoethnography, creative history, medieval letters, creative writing, sexual assault