Guide Intimacy and Sexuality in the Age of Shakespeare

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1. ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’
  1. Autumn 2003
  2. Shakespeare, sexuality and the Sonnets - The British Library
  3. Sex & Shakespeare: Jillian Keenan's memoir explores her and the bard's kinky side
  4. Introduction to Intimacy for the Stage
  5. Ohio Shakespeare Festival Weekend Workshops

When I read of his death in , aged 86, more than a third of a century after I had seen him on the stage, he was still clad in my imagination in the burgundy velvet tunic and tights of his costume as Angelo. Doctor Goring wrote a big volume called The English Convict , intended as a refutation of the predominant criminological theory of the time, Italian positivism, whose most famous proponent, Cesare Lombroso, argued that criminality was a biological trait recognizable by physical signs such as a sloping forehead or narrowness between the eyes. Goring measured hundreds of English prisoners from head to toe and administered batteries of tests to them, correlating each measure with every other, and concluding that, Measure for Measure , there was no such thing as the biological criminal type.

At the time, this argument decisively swept the field: criminals are made, not born.

Autumn 2003

But no refutation of so broad a theory as Italian positivism is ever quite decisive, and since then biological theories of crime have made a spirited, if still wrongheaded, comeback. The heredity of criminality and the neurobiology of illicit acquisition and aggression are once again respectable subjects of research, though they can never explain the important question of why some eras or populations are more crime-ridden than others. T he relation between the biological and the social, between the animal and the human, is the principal theme of Measure for Measure , as it was of Dr.

And Shakespeare certainly gives biology its due. Not only is his play anti-puritanical, but it recognizes without censoriousness the strength of the sexual urge and the intense pleasure it offers. Better a certain moral elasticity than complete moral rigidity. Moreover, an evening in their company would be very much more fun than an evening with Isabella, however morally perfect she might be.

These comic characters are not without insight into human nature. Come, fear not you; good counsellors lack no clients. Though you change your place, you need not change your trade. The oldest profession will survive whatever the laws against it might be, for human nature will never change. B ut Shakespeare most decidedly does not leave it at that.

Shakespeare, sexuality and the Sonnets - The British Library

He does not say, or in any way imply, that because lust is eternal, because it can never be extirpated quite, any and all sexual relations are perfectly in order and morally equal. On the contrary: he would loathe it, for its consequences are precisely what he sees lurking in human nature if civilizing restraint be removed. Shakespeare is not a partisan of the noble savage who lives by instinct alone: rather, it is the savage in man that he fears and detests.

The service that Mistress Overdone provides is fine—indeed, needed—as a safety valve, but as a model of all intimate human relations it is the primrose path to earthly perdition. In fact, none of the major characters in the play regards sex as merely a biological or animal function and therefore of no moral concern. Of course, to regard sex only as a moral problem, as an impulse to be repressed at all costs, as Angelo does, is as deforming as to regard it as having no moral importance.

His love of Juliet and his sincere promise to marry her, therefore, extenuate his conduct in his own eyes and, he hopes, in the eyes of others. But you only offer extenuation when you believe you have done wrong, or at least behaved less than ideally, in the first place.

  • Shakespeare’s Sexuality: and how it affects the Authorship Issue | Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship.
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  • Intimacy and Sexuality in the Age of Shakespeare - James M. Bromley - Google книги.

So Claudio is not claiming that he is innocent, only that his sin of not waiting for all the formalities to be completed is not a mortal one. If Angelo had merely fined Claudio and given him a stern lecture, the drama would have ended there and then.

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But though Claudio accepts his guilt, he also points out that he is the victim of the zeitgeist of leniency in Vienna. From too much liberty, my Lucio, liberty. As surfeit is father to much fast, So every scope by the immoderate use, Turns to restraint.

Sex & Shakespeare: Jillian Keenan's memoir explores her and the bard's kinky side

And, like everyone else in Vienna, Claudio has taken advantage of this liberty without much thought for the consequences:. Our natures do pursue Like rats that ravin down their proper bane, A thirsty evil, and when we drink we die. In other words, restraints upon our natural inclinations, which left to themselves do not automatically lead us to do what is good for us and often indeed lead us to evil, are not only necessary; they are the indispensable condition of civilized existence. There is a vice that most I do abhor, And most desire should meet the blow of justice, For which I would not plead, but that I must.

Outraged, she replies:. But this response shows a lack of historical understanding and imagination.

Narcissists, intimacy and sex issues

Throughout most of history, chastity has been honored as an important virtue, precisely because it helps to control and civilize sexual relations. But Isabella knows that a society that places no value at all on chastity will not place much value on fidelity either: and then we are back to the free-for-all and all its attendant problems.

She fears not only for her own soul if she sins, but for that of society. But if virtues and ideals all of which are impossible to achieve perfectly are part of what makes us human, Shakespeare implies that they, too, must be proportionate. At the end of the play, Isabella abandons her chastity and marries the Duke, suggesting that there is a time and place for such restraint, but it is not over the whole course of a human life. Carried to an extreme, chastity will cease to be a virtue and become, if not a vice, at least a stimulus to vice.

If Angelo had not been so militantly chaste, he would have been far less likely to make his wicked attempt on Isabella. Perhaps more surprisingly, Lucio, the rake and libertine, also sees the value of chastity. I hold you as a thing enskied and sainted, By your renouncement an immortal spirit And to be talked with in sincerity, As with a saint. These are not the words of someone who thinks that sex is of no moral import.

On the contrary, they are the words of someone who takes St. His own conduct, however, is a living refutation of the impossibility of imposing the Pauline view by force, as Angelo tries to do. He is not himself licentious, being a studious and cultivated man, nor does he approve of licentiousness in others. He says to Pompey:. Fie, sirrah, a bawd, a wicked bawd!

The evil that thou causest to be done, That is thy means to live. Say to thyself, From their abominable and beastly touches I drink, I eat, array myself and live. Canst thou believe thy living is a life, So stinkingly depending? This is not just rhetoric: the Duke, still disguised as a friar and acting, presumably, on religious authority, has Pompey carted off to jail. By beastliness, the Duke means sexuality without the human qualities of love and commitment: for without love, sex is merely animal—beastly in the most literal sense.

Smith and the emergence of new modes of writing and media combine to open the door to a subtle and sophisticated program of representing a surprisingly broad spectrum of sexual acts. Introduction: interiority, futurity, and affective relations in Renaissance literature; 1.

Introduction to Intimacy for the Stage

Intimacy and narrative closure in Christopher Marlowe's Hero and Leander; 2. A funny thing happened on the way to the altar: the anus, marriage, and narrative in Shakespeare; 3. Social status and the intimacy of masochistic sexual practice in Beaumont and Fletcher and Middleton; 4. Nuns and nationhood: intimacy in convents in Renaissance drama; 5. Female homoeroticism, race, and public forms of intimacy in the works of Lady Mary Wroth; Epilogue: invitation to a queer life.

Ohio Shakespeare Festival Weekend Workshops

Du kanske gillar. Inbunden Engelska, Spara som favorit. Skickas inom vardagar. Laddas ned direkt. James Bromley argues that Renaissance texts circulate knowledge about a variety of non-standard sexual practices and intimate life narratives, including non-monogamy, anal eroticism, masochism and cross-racial female homoeroticism. Rethinking current assumptions about intimacy in Renaissance drama, poetry and prose, the book blends historicized and queer approaches to embodiment, narrative and temporality.

An important contribution to Renaissance literary studies, queer theory and the history of sexuality, the book demonstrates the relevance of Renaissance literature to today.