James Bromley argues that Renaissance texts circulate knowledge about a variety of non-standard sexual practices and intimate life narratives, including non-monogamy, anal eroticism, masochism and cross-racial female homoeroticism. Rethinking current assumptions about intimacy in Renaissance drama, poetry and prose, the book blends historicized and queer approaches to embodiment, narrative and temporality. An important contribution to Renaissance literary studies, queer theory and the history of sexuality, the book demonstrates the relevance of Renaissance literature to today. Through close readings of William Shakespeare's 'problem comedies', Christopher Marlowe's Hero and Leander, plays by Beaumont and Fletcher, Thomas Middleton's The Nice Valour and Lady Mary Wroth's sonnet sequence Pamphilia to Amphilanthus and her prose romance The Urania, Bromley re-evaluates notions of the centrality of deep, abiding affection in Renaissance culture and challenges our own investment in a narrowly defined intimate sphere.
James Bromley is Assistant Professor of English at Miami University. He has published essays on intimacy, sexual practice and Renaissance literature in Early Modern Literary Studies, Studies in Philology and Modern Philology. He is the winner of the 2011 Martin Stevens Award for Best New Essay in Early Drama Studies from the Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society.
Introduction: interiority, futurity, and affective relations in Renaissance literature; 1. Intimacy and narrative closure in Christopher Marlowe's Hero and Leander; 2. A funny thing happened on the way to the altar: the anus, marriage, and narrative in Shakespeare; 3. Social status and the intimacy of masochistic sexual practice in Beaumont and Fletcher and Middleton; 4. Nuns and nationhood: intimacy in convents in Renaissance drama; 5. Female homoeroticism, race, and public forms of intimacy in the works of Lady Mary Wroth; Epilogue: invitation to a queer life.