Shakespeare, Sex, and Love

Paperback | February 9, 2012

byStanley Wells

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How does Shakespeare's treatment of human sexuality relate to the sexual conventions and language of his times? Pre-eminent Shakespearean critic Stanley Wells draws on historical and anecdotal sources to present an illuminating account of sexual behaviour in Shakespeare's time, particularly inStratford-upon-Avon and London. He demonstrates what we know or can deduce of the sex lives of Shakespeare and members of his family. He also provides a fascinating account of depictions of sexuality in the poetry of the period and suggests that at the time Shakespeare was writing most of hisnon-dramatic verse a group of poets catered especially for readers with homoerotic tastes. The second part of Shakespeare, Sex, and Love focuses on the variety of ways in which Shakespeare treats sexuality in his plays and at how he relates sexuality to love. Wells shows that Shakespeare's attitude to sex developed over the course of his writing career, and devotes whole chapters to 'TheFun of Sex' - to how he raises laughter out of the matter of sex in both the language and the plotting of some of his comedies; portrayals of sexual desire; to Romeo and Juliet as the play in which Shakespeare focuses most centrally on issues relating to sex, love, and the relationship between them;to sexual jealousy, traced through four major plays; 'Sexual Experience'; and 'Whores and Saints'. A final chapter, 'Just Good Friends' examines Shakespeare's rendering of same-gender relationships.

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How does Shakespeare's treatment of human sexuality relate to the sexual conventions and language of his times? Pre-eminent Shakespearean critic Stanley Wells draws on historical and anecdotal sources to present an illuminating account of sexual behaviour in Shakespeare's time, particularly inStratford-upon-Avon and London. He demonstr...

Stanley Wells is Chairman of the Trustees of Shakespeare's Birthplace, Emeritus Professor of Shakespeare Studies of the University of Birmingham, and Honorary Emeritus Governor of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. He has an extensive record of publications, mostly concerned with Shakespeare and his contemporaries.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 8.5 × 5.31 × 0.07 inPublished:February 9, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199643970

ISBN - 13:9780199643974

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroductionPart One: Life and Times1. Sexuality in Shakespeare's Time2. Sex and Poetry in Shakespeare's Time3. Shakespeare and SexPart Two: Plays and Poems4. The Fun of Sex5. Sexual Desire6. Sex and Love in Romeo and Juliet7. Sexual Jealousy8. Sex and Experience9. Whores and Saints10. Just Good Friends?ConclusionFurther Reading

Editorial Reviews

"This is not a long book, but it draws on Well's decades of close-focus research as a Shakespeare scholar and editor." --Charles Nicholl, Financial Times 08/05/2010