On February 20, 2014, as part of the UA LGBT Institute's series "Deep Dish Lunchtime Lectures, Prof. Alfie will give an informal talk entitled "“‘Mother Superior, you’re trying to seduce me!’: A Possible Reference to Lesbian Activity in a Medieval Italian Tale of Ribaldry.”
The LGBT Institute's Deep Dish Lunchtime Lectures are informal, informational talks intended for students, scholars and the general public.
In his talk, Prof. Alfie will deal with racy material. The topic is as follows:Giovanni Sercambi (1348-1424) wrote a collection of short stories modeled on Boccaccio’s bawdy Decameron (ca. 1351). One of Sercambi’s ribald tales relates how the Mother Superior of a convent initiated the novices by having sex with them. When a young man falls in love with one of the nuns, he disguises himself as a novice, but when the Mother Superior brings him into her chamber to have sex with him, his ruse is unveiled. In Italy during the Middle Ages, references to male homosexuality are unusual but not rare; but references to lesbianism are almost nonexistent. Indeed, this humorous tale may contain the only reference to lesbianism in Italian medieval literature.
Anyone interested in ribald medieval literature is welcome to come.