Shakespeare, Sex, and Love (Paperback)
  • Shakespeare, Sex, and Love (Paperback)
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Shakespeare, Sex, and Love (Paperback)

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Paperback 304 Pages / Published: 09/02/2012
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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 in Stratford-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 his non-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 'The Fun 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.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199643974
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 382 g
Dimensions: 215 x 134 x 22 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
This eloquent, humane and balanced book wears its erudition lightly. In doing so it rescues its subject from the overbearing weight of cultural, political and theoretical baggage with which it has often been loaded in the past few decades. * Rob Maslen, TLS *
Well's subtly and systematically illuminates Shakespeare's acknowledgement of the glory and horror of what it is to be fully human. * Simon Callow, The Guardian *
Concise and elegantly written book. * Simon Callow, The Guardian *
Advance Praise: 'From bawdy and bed-tricks to same-sex love and the pangs of sexual jealousy, Shakespeare, Sex, and Love offers a magisterial account-by the leading Shakespeare authority of our day-of the subject at the very heart of the plays and poems. Its also a terrific read. * James Shapiro, author of 1599 *
This eloquent, humane and balanced book wears its erudition lightly. * Times Literary Supplement *
He treads a precise and delicate path through Shakespeare's works * Rob Maslen,TLS *
Well-paced and informative book. * John Stubbs, Literary Review *
[He] captures a great deal of the diversity and freshness of Shakespeare's writing. * John Stubbs, Literary Review, *
He is an expert and highly readable guide to the highways and byways of Shakespearean sexuality. * Charles Nicholl, Financial Times *
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 *
Deeply versed in the period, urbane and unflappable in tone, refreshingly free of ideological agendas. * Charles Nicholl, Financial Times *
Wells is an expert modern guide in terms of literary criticism and biography. * The Times *

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“Lust in Action”

What Stanley Wells doesn’t know about this subject isn’t worth knowing. And he’s also an expert on Shakespeare. Ay thang yow … Anyway, moving swiftly on, much has changed since Robert Bridges sternly admonished the... More

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