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Sodometries: Renaissance Texts, Modern Sexualities

Overview

This book is about representations of sodomy. While most of the texts it considers are literary-works by Shakespeare, Marlowe, Spenser, among others-it is framed by political considerations, notably the 1986 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bowers v. Hardwick that denied any constitutional act to private consensual acts that the court termed 'homosexual sodomy' and the rhetoric attaching sodomy to Saddam Hussein in the initial U.S. war in Iraq.The book takes as axiomatic Foucault's description of sodomy as 'that ...

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1992 Very Good 0804720509 Very Good. (Binding: Hardcover, Jacket: Very Good) Hardcover, Very Good, Very Good Jacket.

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Overview

This book is about representations of sodomy. While most of the texts it considers are literary-works by Shakespeare, Marlowe, Spenser, among others-it is framed by political considerations, notably the 1986 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bowers v. Hardwick that denied any constitutional act to private consensual acts that the court termed 'homosexual sodomy' and the rhetoric attaching sodomy to Saddam Hussein in the initial U.S. war in Iraq.The book takes as axiomatic Foucault's description of sodomy as 'that utterly confused category.' Without collapsing questions of historical difference, it works to articulate relations between the early modern period and our own, between a time before the homo/heterosexual divide and the modern regimes that assume it. In this book, sodometries (a Renaissance word for 'sodomy' chosen for its nonce-word suggestiveness) are sites of complications around definitions of sex and gender. Because 'sodomy' is not a term capable of singular definition, representations of sodomy are never direct. Sodomy exists only relationally.Three social domains for textual production are explored in this book: the sixteenth-century English court as the location of high literariness; the theater, especially as a site for controversy around cross-dressing; the New World as the place where the slaughter of native populations (and, in New England, of Englishmen as well) was carried out in the name of ridding the hemisphere of sodomites. These lethal impulses are read as foundational for a U.S. imaginary still operative in many powerful quarters.The analyses of literary texts engage the most advanced work in early modern literary criticism (that done by feminist and New Historicist critics) and proposes a queer perspective that necessarily complicates and enriches such inquiries. Besides offering detailed readings of literary texts not often read in terms of the history of sexuality (Shakespeare's history plays, for example), the book also examines narratives of the conquest and colonization of the Americas.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Sodometries is a stunning book: the complexity of its intelligence and the beauty of its stylistic accomplishments take one's breath away.-

Sodometries has decisively shaped work in the history of sexuality for thelast decade and remains a critical text for this developing field . . . Goldberg's work is already a classic and has not been superceded.-Karen Newman

A classic in queer theory and in new historicist accounts of the renaissance.-Janet Halley

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804720502
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/1992
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 316
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.78 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

JONATHAN GOLD BERG is Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor in the Department of English and Director, Studies in Sexualities, at Emory University. The most recent of his many books is The Seeds of Things (Fordham).

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Table of Contents

Preface xv

1 Introduction: "That Utterly Confused Category" 1

Part 1 "Wee/Men": Gender and Sexuality in the Formations of Elizabethan High Literariness

2 The Making of Courtly Makers 29

3 Spenser's Familiar Letters 63

Part 2 "Play the Sodomites, or Worse": The Elizabethan Theater

4 The Transvestite Stage: More on the Case of Christopher Marlowe 105

5 Desiring Hal 145

Part 3 "They are all Sodomites": The new world

6 Discovering America 179

7 Bradford's "Ancient Members" and "A Case of Buggery...Amongst Them" 223

8 Tailpiece: From William Bradford to William Buckley 247

Notes 253

Index 289

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