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date: 02 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In terms of sexuality, the Baroque period sees an evolution culminating in more clear-cut definitions and fixity: the establishment of two dimorphic sexes, which sustain physiologically grounded sexual and gender roles, concomitant with, and sustained in part by, the definition and marginalization of the homosexual. The modern sexual identities thus established depend no less on the emergence of the introspective, desiring subject, whose elaboration begins in the context of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations and the ensuing reorganization of the central religious and social institutions of confession and marriage. However, all these developments happened gradually and unevenly. Consequently, the Baroque is irreducibly marked by transition, multiplicity, lability, complexity, and the coexistence of differing models, ideas, and practices. As such, the Baroque defies dichotomous thinking and challenges historians of sexuality to move beyond entrenched and opposing “continuist” and “differentialist” approaches.

Keywords: Baroque, sexuality, homosexuality, gender roles, marriage, confession

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