Desire and Dramatic Form in Early Modern England

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This wide-ranging study investigates the intersections of erotic desire and dramatic form in the early modern period, considering to what extent disruptive desires can successfully challenge, change or undermine the structures in which they are embedded. Through close readings of texts by Marlowe, Shakespeare, Webster, Middleton, Ford and Cavendish, Haber counters the long-standing New Historicist association of the aesthetic with the status quo, and argues for its subversive potential. Many of the chosen texts unsettle conventional notions of sexual and textual consummation. Others take a more conventional stance; yet by calling our attention to the intersection between traditional dramatic structure and the dominant ideologies of gender and sexuality, they make us question those ideologies even while submitting to them. The book will be of interest to those working in the fields of early modern literature and culture, drama, gender and sexuality studies, and literary theory.