In both feminist theory and Shakespearean criticism, questions of sexuality have consistently been conflated with questions of gender. First published in 1992, this book details the intersections and contradictions between sexuality and gender in the early modern period. Valerie Traub argues that desire and anxiety together constitute the erotic in Shakespearean drama – circulating throughout the dramatic texts, traversing ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ sites, eliciting and expressing heterosexual and homoerotic fantasies, embodiments, and fears. This is the first book to present a non-normalizing account of the unconscious and the institutional prerogatives that comprise the erotics of Shakespearean drama. Employing feminist, psychoanalytic, and new historical methods, and using each to interrogate the other, the book synthesises the psychic and the social, the individual and the institutional.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements; Introduction: Talking about sexuality in Shakespeare; Part I: Erotic paranoia 1. Jewels, statues, and corpses: containment of female erotic power (Hamlet, Othello, The Winter’s Tale) 2. Prince Hal’s Falstaff: positioning psychoanalysis and the female reproductive body (Henry IV, parts 1 and 2, Henry V) 3. Invading bodies/bawdy exchanges: disease, desire, and representation (Troilus and Cressida); Part II: Erotic possibility 4. Desire and the differences it makes 5. The homoerotics of Shakespearean comedy (As You Like It, Twelfth Night); Afterword; Notes; Index