Wanton Words: Rhetoric and Sexuality in English Renaissance Drama

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University of Toronto Press, 2004 - History - 236 pages
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In Wanton Words, Madhavi Menon intimately and expertly couples classical and Renaissance handbooks of rhetoric with canonical Renaissance plays and demonstrates their shared propensity to speak about sex - often transgressive sex - in the same instance that they speak about the workings of language.

While other studies of rhetoric have confined their analyses to local questions of interpretive interest, Menon introduces rhetoric into the largely medico-juridical realm of studies on Renaissance sexuality. In doing so, she suggests that rhetoric allows us to think through the erotics of language in ways that pay most attention to the frisson of English Renaissance drama. Sustained deconstructive parsings of tropes - metaphor, metonymy, allegory, catechresis, and more - enables their wantonness to emerge in subjects usually considered unrelated to rhetoric: race in Othello, colonialism in The Tempest, tragedy in Romeo and Juliet, and cowardice in The Roaring Girl.

 

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Contents

Foreplay
3
Metonymy Richard II The Roaring Girl
35
Metalepsis Romeo and Juliet Alls Well that
68
Catachresis Othello King John
94
Encore Allegory Volpone The Tempest
124
Henry VIII and the Ends of History
157
Notes
173
Bibliography
211
Index
231
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Madhavi Menon is an assistant professor in the Department of English at Ithaca College.

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