In Words and Deeds: The Spectacle of Incest in English Renaissance Tragedy
Departing from earlier studies which regarded incest as a literary topos or dramatic metaphor foregrounding political, social, or legal issues,Words and Deeds: The Spectacle of Incest in English Renaissance Tragedy argues that the presence of incest on the Renaissance stage is a strategy for the enactment of the spectator's tragic experience. Incest is explored neither as a sin nor as a crime, but as an “unspeakable” experience filtered through dramatic words and deeds. The incitement of desire, visual pleasure, and unconscious fantasy, as well as traumatic rejection, pain, and horror, are all aspects of this paradoxical and uncanny experience. Aristotelian theory of tragedy, Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis, and Michel Foucault's notions of the deployment of sexuality and alliance, concur in the analysis of plays where incest is a central or a secondary motif – Ford's'Tis Pity She's a Whore, Beaumont and Fletcher's Cupid's Revenge, Webster'sThe Duchess of Malfi – and others where incest is an effect of language andmise-en-scène – Sackville and Norton's Gorboduc, Shakespeare's King Lear.The variety of topics and the combination of critical perspectives makes In Words and Deedsan attractive book for students and teachers of Renaissance drama, as well as for those with a special interest in psychoanalytic and other new theoretical approaches to the literary text.
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Page 8 - The only way of expressing emotion in the form of art is by finding an "objective correlative"; in other words, a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula of that -particular emotion; such that when the external facts, which must terminate in sensory experience, are given, the emotion is immediately evoked.