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Style, Subjectivity, and Male Sexuality in Early Modern Drama
November 3, 2014 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Solmsen Fellow (2014-2015)
English, Miami University
As the population and economic activity of early modern London rapidly increased, dramatists explored and shaped the way early modern Londoners related to each other, to dominant ideologies of gender and sexuality, and to material culture. This book project zeroes in on the representation of clothing in early modern plays set in London. Known as city comedies or citizen comedies, these plays were highly popular in their day and have typically been read as reinforcing a broader, monolithic cultural condemnation of excessive apparel. Through a more supple method of historical contextualization, this project recovers the queer forms of male embodiment and eroticism that these plays offered their audiences. In drawing attention to the dissidence in these plays, this project assesses their potential to provoke a reimagining of present modes of being and social relations outside of the frameworks of subculture and identity that dominate current politics of sexuality and urban space. The seminar draws from this larger project and will focus on how early modern city comedies memorialize and idealize the affordances of public sexual culture through their representation of extravagantly dressed men who “cruise” Saint Paul’s Cathedral.
James M. Bromley is an Associate Professor of English at Miami University. He is the author of Intimacy and Sexuality in the Age of Shakespeare (Cambridge, 2012) and the co-editor of Sex before Sex: Figuring the Act in Early Modern England(Minnesota, 2013). He won the 2011 Martin Stevens Award for the Best New Essay in Early Drama Studies from the Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society. He is currently working on a book project entitled Style, Subjectivity, and Male Sexuality in Early Modern Drama.