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Stanivukovic, Goran. Goran Stanivukovic. London: Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare, Bloomsbury Collections. Copyright Goran Stanivukovic and contributors All rights reserved. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without prior permission in writing from the publishers. Goran Stanivukovic ed.
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With this production, queer Shakespeare entered the theatre centre stage. And when Helenus offers himself to Demetrius. I am your spaniel; and, Demetrius, The more you beat me, I will fawn on you. Use me but as your spaniel, spurn me strike me, Neglect me, lose me; only give me leave, Unworthy as I am, to follow you.
This speech is not about shameful desires, not about hidden thoughts and suppressed eroticism. It is instead a moment of truth and autonomy of the sexual subject liberated in its demand for and expression of sexual gratification through submission. The queerness of this passage lies precisely in the capacity of the text to allow the separation of personhood from erotic desire and sexual behaviour, relationship and practice. At the end of the play, Demetrius, from whom the spell cast over him by Oberon is never lifted, says to Helenus:. The object and the pleasure of my eye, Is only Helenus.
They also demonstrate the extent to which queer theory has diversified and how that diversification has revealed Desire some Helena sex that were unacknowledged by critical practices and Desire some Helena sex of reading desire and sexuality in Shakespeare. Just as the line that separates the world of magic in the woods and the world of courtly reality is thin, so are 5 the lines that apparently distinguish desires and sexualities within what is Desire some Helena sex out to be a heteronormative plot.
They also show that the ification and direction of Shakespearean desire cannot be pinned down easily, but that queer theory teases out different, and differing, structures and versions of that desire. These new dramatic possibilities are queer because they originate from within the text and yield new states of being on the stage, ones that unsettle heteronormative discourse in the play. Shakespeare is queer because his language is queer. Coupled with the queer potential within his texts, this cultural visibility assures that Shakespeare has a queer future as well.
Yet, despite the combined effect of these attributes, queer early modern criticism and queer theory in particular have not made as extensive a use of Shakespeare as an object of inquiry as one might expect. Queer Shakespeare addresses some of the lacunae in the scholarship of queer desires and sexualities within Shakespeare studies. It encourages approaches that have been left out by other explorations of queer Shakespeare that have disparately appeared in individual essays throughout journals, collections and individual chapters in monographs.
Taking a broad view of what queer theory can do for Shakespeare and what Shakespeare has done for queer theory, contributors to Queer Shakespeare have written their chapters cognizant of the disagreement with some of the current writing on queer Shakespeare. How does queer Shakespeare affect critical practice at our current moment in Shakespeare scholarship? These questions frame this collection and underpin the individual essays. Yet Queer Shakespeare reaches beyond the theoretical dichotomies of deconstruction and the treatment of queer as one of the theoretical versions of post-structuralism, by pushing the thinking about desire and sexuality in a direction that does not only include debates about the norm and the overturning or deviating from it, but that also takes it apart.
Existent scholarship on queerness in Shakespeare has located queer meanings within some of the most mainstream characters, actions and plot strands in Shakespeare. One does not have to be relegated to the social or sexual margin in Shakespeare to embody queer meaning. Queer Shakespeare picks up on 8 some of the new thinking about the relationship of literature, time and desire that has grown out of post-structuralist theories of desire and sexuality. Hamlet is an avant-garde play at all levels of composition.
It is a play that shatters orthodoxies of any kind, from theatre to semantics. Critics of queer early modernity in England have offered arguments about different ways in which same-sex sexual acts, practices and desires manifested themselves in early modern literature and society. In these undertakings, critics have invested a ificant amount of controlled speculation in drawing conclusions about what we can actually know today about the social ification of these sexual and erotic manifestations in the past that came down to us in coded allegories and literary stylizations, and a limited body of archival evidence, in the English context.
With his large canon of plays and a ificant body of lyric poetry for an active playwright and actor that he was, Shakespeare has become an important case study in explaining the meeting point of queer theory and early modern literature. One of the questions that this volume also addresses is what queer theory has done for Shakespeare scholarship and how queer theory can move Shakespeare criticism in a new direction.
It is a very different kind of companion among many that have been steadily coming out of late. This critical approach is enriched by bringing together different directions and ways of using queer theory in interpreting Shakespeare. In this way, these chapters remind us why scholars continue to turn to queer approaches as they seek new insights into Shakespeare: queer theory nimbly deploys multiple modes of interpretation to render visible the complexity of sexuality.
Queer Shakespeare demonstrates that queer theory brings the present in dialogue with the past while 11 also unsettling the teleologies that position those temporal as proceeding one from the other. Queer theory has allowed Shakespeare critics to unpack desires, sexualities and kinds of embodiment in ways in which criticism did not.
It has revealed Shakespeare as a sexual radical at times, as a writer for whom the body and desire, and sex and sexuality, are as important as crowns and wars, who is in and who is out of the throne. The Shakespeare that emerges from the s of Queer Shakespeare is the Shakespeare acutely curious, observant and attentive to the nuances of how sexuality and desire shape and affect his world.
Queer theory has shown that Shakespeare is transgressive in order to raise questions about what might be the opposite of transgression, that we may think is the norm, but it might not be. It has suggested that the law of desire that regulates which body should desire which other body is the most malleable and unstable of the laws within his creative imagination.
Queer theory has also displayed that in Shakespeare the fictional men and women, fairies and airy spirits, are driven by competing desires that cut across the lines of gender and sexual identities against contemporary expectations. In methodological terms, queer theory has deepened the link between the study of the psychic structures within interiority and the social and cultural history that shape identity.
In Shakespeare, as in much early modern literature, queer is a coded discourse, one dependent on the rhetorical ornament or a classical allusion to convey queer meaning. A reference to Ganymede  or to Calisto  would have conjured associations with what we now call queer sexuality and desire to the early 12 moderns just as we decode these mythical figures as queer, because we have transported the classical associations of these figures with queer sexuality to modern times.
As a marker of such textual moments, queer is attached to a person or behaviour that is not named by culture that regulates representation. Because that discourse is linguistically coded in ways that intersect with but are not always identical to the actual acts and forms of embodiment that early modern men and women practised and inhabited, a queer Shakespeare project depends on the critical practice of the uncovering of the linguistic, rhetorical and stylistic work of imagination that reshapes various social practices into the language of dramatic and lyric poetry.
If Shakespeare the queer theorist came before queer theory, which is how the teleological argument goes, the emergence of queer theory, before it was so named, owes, as it does, much to Shakespeare as well. While informed by queer theory, the essays are also intent on extending the terms of queer theory in a direction in which queer theory has not gone yet.
This dual purpose of the chapters Desire some Helena sex Queer Shakespeare is represented to different degrees in individual essays, but all 13 of the chapters Desire some Helena sex in both historiography and theory.
If Shakespeare came before queer theory in the sense that his texts anticipate some of the ideas upon which queer theory would later be built, his texts also contributed to the queer structure of thinking about polymorphous sexuality, in a way that closes the gap between the pastness of Shakespeare and the contemporariness of queer theory. Her chapter also played an important role in shaping queer theory as a critical tool for unpacking dichotomies within, and the binaries of, gender and sexuality.
Sedgwick, via Shakespeare, was therefore 14 constitutive of the formative phase of queer theory and queer early modern literary criticism. The 15 focus on desire and the querying of the sexual binaries of homo- and heterosexuality as they have been culturally and historically formulated to p control of the definitions of sexuality in the Renaissance has also been the main objects of queer literary criticism.
For instance, Queering the Renaissancea volume that collects some of the grounding essays from the formative phase of queer early modern historiography, redefines the ways in which identity, gender and sexuality were conceptualized in the Renaissance and presented in literature of the period. Yet in Queer Shakespearesameness and difference do not drive analyses in the individual essays.
It proposes that dichotomies of desire and sexuality, which are the subject of analysis in this volume, are queer, but only insofar as those dichotomies also extend to other manifestations of desire and forms of embodiment that on the surface may not strike us as queer, like glass, smell or size.
Sexual practices and types are queer; but so are rhetorical figures and styles. In this sense, Queer Shakespeare shows that queer early modern studies, and queer theory more broadly, is far from over. On the contrary, the more queer theory evolves, the more it expands the opportunity for critical innovation; the more experimental vitality it can add to Shakespeare criticism and different cultural appropriations of Shakespeare.
Queer Shakespeare shows that the vibrancy of Shakespearean sexualities, the vagaries and extremities of desire germane to his writing, and the resistance to Desire some Helena sex transparent articulations of sex and the body afford new critical possibilities. The Shakespearean queer is both a conceptual abstraction and an abstraction that masks the representation of desire, sexuality and embodiment of multiple ifications. The chapters in Queer Shakespeare demonstrate that at any level of composition and style, stage scene and plot device, Shakespeare can be queer, even queerer than we at first think he is; and in refreshing and liberating ways, too.
Queer Shakespeare displays rhetorical power that can shatter and 18 alter meaning at any point in the text, as the following lines by Arcite, one of the two cousins from The Two Noble Kinsmenillustrates:. This place is our inheritance. Confinement becomes a place that liberates imagination to beget new ways of belonging for two men. It is a place of fantasy.
It is not clear what kind of exchange is imagined in this passage; whatever it is, it offers fulfillment. Imprisonment also redefines the meaning of gender and marriage, in an invitation to become symbolically?
This fantasy Desire some Helena sex new affective and social coupling has rewritten what family, heritage and inheritance mean in the prison. Yet this confinement seems more like a desired bower of emotional bliss than a crushing dungeon. Prison has become a shared space of intimacy, however elusive the somatic and erotic ification of that intimacy may be.
It has become a homosocial and queer space. The fantasy of eternity takes the language of emotional exchange back to that of matrimony, and the ritualistic promise that husband and wife are inseparate in life and death. But the text does not demonstrate that either the class or gender, or even sexual identity of the imprisoned noblemen is affected by these changes in the rhetoric of desire.
It is desire, not identity that is, in fact, of more interest to the two collaborators at this point. Yet how transgressive is this desire? The desire imagined in this passage privileges a male-male relationship differently in relation to kinship and the Theban court, as normative units and, especially of the court, of political power as well. But that same male-male desire does not put gender and affection in tension, but in consonance.
As such, desire confirms masculine agency. The exchange between Arcite and Palamon takes place in a prison cell, in a space that emasculates men; in a place that strips men of power afforded to them by culture and society. The desire that brings Arcite and Palamon together does not come in addition to the power they had outside the prison walls, but despite having that power taken away from them. Queer Shakespeare shows that s of queerness in Shakespeare are more authentic in scenes away from the tension of gender and sexuality, where the play between orthodoxy and subversion is apparent but not simplified.
The multifaceted meaning of the words in this passage conceals both the operation of the mind that thinks away from the normative gender arrangement and shows the syntactic strategy that carries this meaning.
It is evidence of a historical change occurring in the English language at the turn of the centuries. It shows that the increasingly rhetorical mind of a writer writing in a deeply rhetorical culture was influenced by the changes in the English language at the point when the semantic potential of the English language ificantly developed at the end of the sixteenth century.
In the passage from The Two Noble Kinsmenthese rhetorical tendencies are evident in attaching different meanings to desire as well as to the affective and corporeal bonds within such social as wife, cousin and friend. Shakespeare rhetorical imagination is also queer imagination.Desire some Helena sex
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