Beard Fetish in Early Modern England: Sex, Gender, and by Mark Albert Johnston

By Mark Albert Johnston

Focusing on representations of beards in English Renaissance tradition, this examine elucidates how fetish gadgets validate ideological platforms of strength through materializing complicated price in a number of registers. delivering exact discussions of not just bearded males but additionally beardless boys, bearded girls, and half-bearded hermaphrodites, writer Mark Albert Johnston argues that attending heavily to early sleek English culture's therapy of the beard as a fetish item finally exposes the contingency of different types like intercourse, gender, age, race, and sexuality.

Johnston mines a various cross-section of up to date discourses—adult and children’s drama, narrative verse and prose, well known ballads, epigrams and proverbs, old money owed, pamphlet literature, diaries, letters, wills, court docket documents and felony records, clinical and surgical manuals, lectures, sermons, almanacs, and calendars—in order to supply evidence for his cultural claims. Johnston’s proof invokes many of the period’s most famed voices—William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, John Lyly, Phillip Stubbes, John Marston, George Chapman, Thomas Dekker, Thomas Middleton, and Samuel Pepys, for example—but Johnston additionally introduces us to an array of lesser-known Renaissance authors and playwrights whose works aid the inspiration that the beard used to be a palimpsestic web site of contested which means at which advanced and contradictory values conflict and converge.

Johnston’s analyzing of Marxist, Freudian, and anthropological theories of the fetish phenomenon recognizes their divergent emphases—erotic, fiscal, racial and religious—while suggesting that the imbrication of various registers that fetish accomplishes enables its cultural and psychic naturalizing function.

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