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New College International Women’s Day Lecture

4 March @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Voicing Lesbian Love in 16th Century Scotland: Biblical Imagery in the Poetry of Marie Maitland

The lecture will introduce Marie Maitland, a remarkable 16th-century Scottish woman, and one of the earliest known authors of lesbian love poetry since the Greek poet Sappho of Lesbos (who gave us the very terms “sapphic” and “lesbian”) herself.

It will give an overview of the Maitland Quarto manuscript (1586) in which Marie’s poetry is contained, before focusing on Poem 49, in which Marie invokes the biblical figures of Ruth and Naomi in the context of her express desire to marry another woman.

It will conclude with reflections about what this 16th-century lesbian love poem, rich in biblical imagery and appeals to the scriptures, means for the intersection between faith and queer love, both today and in the past.

Speaker: Ashley Douglas


Dr Lois Wilson-McFarland (Teaching Fellow in Religion and Literature)

Ashley Raper (Co-Convenor of New College Pride)

Valerie Mear (Co-Convenor of New College Pride)


School of Divinity, Edinburgh


Martin Hall
New College
Edinburgh, EH1 2LX
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