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SPA198 A Brief History of Love in the Western World


Encyclopedias, Dictionaries & Handbooks

Oxford Reference

A collection of reference books (dictionaries and encyclopedias, including the Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages) published online by the Oxford University Press. Search this collection to develop a working knowledge of a topic (such as “courtly love”) and find scholarly sources.

Schaus, Margaret, editor. Women and Gender in Medieval Europe: An Encyclopedia. Routledge, 2006.

A a comprehensive examination of medieval women’s lives and experiences. Masculinity in the Middle Ages is also addressed to provide important context for understanding women’s roles. Consult the entries on “Femininity and Masculinity”, “Gender Ideologies,” and “Gender in History.”

This title has both an alphabetical and thematic list of entries. Check the Gender and Sexuality section for the entry entitled “Space, Sacred: and Gender.”

Bullough, Vern L., and James A. Brundage, editors. Handbook of Medieval Sexuality. Garland Publishing, 1996.

The history of sexuality in the medieval period and related topics such as courtship, concubinage, divorce, marriage, prostitution, and child rearing. The scholarship in this volume asserts that sexual conduct formed a crucial role in the lives, thoughts, hopes and fears both of individuals and of the institutions that they created in the Middle Ages.

Consult the chapter entitled “Gendered Sexuality” among others.

Bennett, Judith M., and Ruth Mazo Karras, editors. The Oxford Handbook of Women and Gender in Medieval Europe. Oxford University Press, 2013.

Provides a comprehensive overview of the gender rules encountered in Europe in the period between approximately 500 and 1500 C.E.

Cook, James Wyatt. Encyclopedia of Renaissance Literature. Facts on File, 2006.

Examines the history and development of literature as it flourished around the world from approximately 1500 to 1660. It contains entries on Marsilio Ficinio (1433–1499), Francis Petrarch (1304–1374) and other authors and individual works. A bibliography with additional sources accompanies each entry.

Pérez, Janet, and Maureen Ihrie, editors. The Feminist Encyclopedia of Spanish Literature. Greenwood Press, 2002.

This reference looks at the literature of Spain from the perspective of women’s studies. Though the volume focuses on the literature of Spain written in Castilian, it also includes survey entries on the present state of women’s literature in Catalan, Galician, and Basque. The encyclopedia includes entries for numerous topics related to Spanish literature, including: literary periods and genres, significant characters and character types, major authors and works, and various specialized topics (such as depictions of sexuality and lesbianism).

Zalta, Edward N., et al., editors. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford University, 2018.

A peer-reviewed online encyclopedia including nearly all areas of philosophy. It is a great place to begin your research and develop background knowledge of a particular philosopher or a philosophical position.

Each entry has an extensive bibliography with recommended resources for further reading and potential sources for your essay. Consult the entries on love and emotion.

Oxford Bibliographies

A bibliography is a list of the books of an author or publisher, or on a specific subject. Oxford Bibliographies, compiled by scholars and librarians, contain extensive lists of annotated titles on many topics within the study of medieval history (including the history of women). It is a great way to find authoritative sources on a specific topic.

Each subject contains an extensive introduction (which provides an overview of the topic) as well as a list of annotated titles of books, arranged by category.

Knox, Peter E., editor. A Companion to Ovid. Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.

A collection of essays representing a wide range of critical methodologies and approaches to Ovid’s poetry, including the poet’s depiction and treatment of love.

Mudge, Bradford K., editor. The Cambridge Companion to Erotic Literature. Cambridge University Press, 2018.

An introduction to key debates in the study of erotic literature from antiquity to the present. It addresses one of the longest standing controversies in literary history: the boundary between acceptable and unacceptable treatments of human sexuality.

Barrett, Lisa Feldman et al., editors. Handbook of Emotions. 4th. ed. Guilford Press, 2016.

A comprehensive compendium on what is currently known about emotion in human behaviour. Part one, “Interdisciplinary Perspectives” includes chapters on the history, philosophy, and sociology of emotions, including love.

created by: Colin Deinhardt & Agatha Barc | updated: 4 September 2019