In this book, Bonnie Lander Johnson explores early modern ideas of chastity, demonstrating how crucial early Stuart thinking on chastity was to political, medical, theological and moral debates, and that it was also a virtue that governed the construction of different literary genres. Drawing on a range of materials, from prose to theatre, theological controversy to legal trials, and court ceremonies - including royal birthing rituals - Lander Johnson unearths previously unrecognised opinions about chastity. She reveals that early Stuart theatrical and court ceremonies were part of the same political debate as prose pamphlets and religious sermons. The volume also offers new readings of Milton's Comus, Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, Henrietta Maria's queenship and John Ford's plays. It will appeal to scholars of early modern literature, theatre, political, medical and cultural history, and gender studies.
Bonnie Lander Johnson is Fellow and Lecturer at Selwyn College, Cambridge. She has published articles in journals, including Bulletin of the Society of Renaissance Studies, Shakespeare Quarterly, and Parergon: Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies. She is also the editor of Blood Matters (forthcoming).
Introduction; 1. Unchastity in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, Caroline court performance and theological dispute; 2. Chastity, medical controversy and the theatre of John Ford; 3. Chastity, William Harvey's demonstrations and court ceremony; 4. Marian chastity: Caroline masques and Henrietta Maria's chaste births; 5. Protestant chastity: the language of resistance in Milton's 'A Maske' and A Maske; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.