Queer Virgins and Virgin Queans on the Early Modern Stage

Hardcover | May 1, 2000

byMary Bly

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Queer Virgins and Virgin Queans looks at the early modern theatre through the lens of obscure and obscene puns--especially 'queer' puns, those that carry homoerotic resonances and speak to homoerotic desires. In particular, it resurrects the operations of a small boys' company known as thefirst Whitefriars, which performed for about nine months in 1607-8. As a group, the plays performed by this company exhibit an unusually dense array of bawdy puns, whose eroticism is extremely interesting, given that the focus of eros is the male body. The laughter recoverable from Whitefriars playsharnesses the pun's inherent doubleness to homoerotic pleasure; in these plays, 'the bawdy hand of the dial' is always 'on the pricke of noone'. Mary Bly's analysis depends on the nature of punning itself, and the inflections of language and the creativity that marked Whitefriars punsters, with special emphasis on the effect of puns on an audience. What happens to audience members who sit shoulder to shoulder and laugh at homoeroticquibbles? What is the effect of catching a queer pun's double meaning in a group rather than while alone? How can we characterize those auditors, within the convoluted, if fascinating, theories of erotic identity offered by queer theorists?

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Queer Virgins and Virgin Queans looks at the early modern theatre through the lens of obscure and obscene puns--especially 'queer' puns, those that carry homoerotic resonances and speak to homoerotic desires. In particular, it resurrects the operations of a small boys' company known as thefirst Whitefriars, which performed for about ni...

Format:HardcoverPublished:May 1, 2000Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198186991

ISBN - 13:9780198186991

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`Bly is interested in how words construct gendered identities. And heraccount of current thinking about early-modern gender and sexuality in itsfullness and readability is very student-friendly.'New Theatre Quarterly, 2001