Shakespeare on Consent
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As the #MeToo movement extends its legal, social, and political reach around the world, the topic of consent has come under scrutiny. Shakespeare on Consent examines crises of consent on the early modern stage and argues that these dramatizations provide a framework for understanding the complex boundaries between coercion, complicity, and choice.
Beginning with the premise that the apparatus of consent serves as a lever of entitlement, Amanda Bailey introduces a Shakespeare well aware that liberal selfhood has never been universally available. Organized around concepts such as capacity, compulsion, and refusal, Shakespeare on Consent brings Shakespeare’s work into conversation with the Penn State Sandusky scandal, D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation, the Bill Clinton–Monica Lewinsky affair, the rise of "somnophilia," Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You, Jordan Peele’s documentary on Lorena Bobbitt, Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, Harvey Weinstein’s Shakespeare in Love, and the fallout of NYU’s Avital Ronnell case. Delving into topics like the political imagination of rape, the racialization of sexualized bodies, the aestheticization of incapacity, hot sex, the machinery of favouritism, and the right of refusal, Amanda Bailey considers who is denied access to the apparatus of consent, under what circumstances, and how consent is vitiated by race, class, sexuality, disability, and gender.
Shakespeare on Consent is a wakeup call for all implicated in the injurious outcomes of consent and a source of inspiration for ingenious workarounds, instances of dissent, and even opportunities for social and political transformation.
Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION: Equity Without Justice
CH 1: Rape of a Nation
CH 2: Stamped by Shame
CH 3: While You Were Sleeping
CH 4: I May Destroy You
CH 5: Make Sex Great Again
CH 6: Weinstein in Love
CODA: Refusal is the First Right
Amanda Bailey is Professor and Chair of English at the University of Maryland, USA. Her publications include Affect Theory and Early Modern Texts: Politics, Ecologies, and Form (co-edited with Mario DiGangi, 2017), Of Bondage: Debt, Property, and Personhood in Early Modern England (2013), Masculinity and the Metropolis of Vice, 1550-1650 (co-edited with Roze Hentschell, 2010), and Flaunting: Style and the Subversive Male Body in Renaissance England (2007). Her articles and essays have appeared in Shakespeare Quarterly, Renaissance Drama, Criticism, The Oxford Handbook of Shakespearean Comedy, and A New Companion to Renaissance Drama.