This original new study re-situates the interpretation of
Renaissance drama by engaging the question of pleasure: both erotic
pleasure as represented on the stage, and aesthetic pleasure as
experienced by readers and spectators. After a theoretical
unfolding of the idea of pleasure, Huebert offers new theatrically
informed readings of plays by a broad range of Renaissance
dramatists, including Marlowe, Jonson, Marston, Webster, Middleton
and Ford. Writing against the grain of current critical
orthodoxies, Huebert foregrounds the theatrical author (in the
sense that one playwright's take on pleasure differs radically from
another's), the interaction of characters (in the sense that
pleasures of many kinds are the product of interpersonal
negotiations), and agency (insofar as the drama confers particular
authority upon pleasures freely chosen). Some of the issues raised
here, like the distribution of pleasure by gender and the pivotal
notion of consent, are questions that intersect with feminist
reinterpretations of Renaissance literature and culture. The study
as a whole is an exploration of how and why the drama from Marlowe
to Ford both represents and engages in the pursuit and creation of
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