Like specialists in other fields in humanities and social sciences, medievalists have begun to investigate and write about sex and related topics such as courtship, concubinage, divorce, marriage, prostitution, and child rearing. The scholarship in this significant 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.
The absorbing subject of sexuality in the Middle Ages is examined in 19 original articles written specifically for this "Handbook" by the major authorities in their scholarly specialties. The study of medieval sexuality poses problems for the researcher: indices in standard sources rarely refer to sexual topics, and standard secondary sources often ignore the material or say little about it. Yet a vast amount of research is available, and the information is accessible to the student who knows where to look and what to look for. This volume is a valuable guide to the material and an indicator of what subjects are likely to yield fresh scholarly rewards.