Gender, Genre and the Grotesque: Literary Subversions of Renaissance Patriarchy

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Gender, Genre and the Grotesque: Literary Subversions of Renaissance Patriarchy

Deanna Wendel

While Mikhail Bakhtin champions the French Renaissance writer Rabelais in his critical work Rabelais and His World, this very book positions Bakhtin as a monumentally important author in his own right, because he illuminates what has long been a driving tension in literature and in human culture—that is, the conflict between what has been deemed the “grotesque” body—open, primal, unfinished, and protrusive—and the “classical” body, which is smooth, closed, finished. The classical body, is, as Bakhtin sees it, essentially an artificial construction, pretending to a form that denies human nature itself (Bakhtin 29). In Renaissance literature, the grotesque is most familiarly seen within the genre of city comedy, which is the realm of the lower class. This is because the language of the grotesque body consists primarily of the language of abuse, profanity, oaths, “indecency,” and most significantly laughter (16-17). Yet grotesque body images also have a more subtle, but equally profound role, in even the genres seeming outwardly most opposed to it, including aristocratic revenge tragedies, such John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi and Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus. Recognizing bodies as open becomes especially important to the most suppressed groups, particularly women, whose suppression is much more blatant on the level of the palace tragedy than the street comedy. Reaching out to the fundamentally grotesque nature of the body provides a vehicle of liberation for female characters, as the grotesque proves itself able to transcend genres and becomes a force that even the woman of tragedy can wield in order to subvert patriarchal attempts to render her voiceless.

Peter Stallybrass is one critic who aims to fill in the void of feminist perspective in Bakhtin’s theories; in his 1986 essay, “Patriarchal Territories: The Body Enclosed,” he points out the pervasive belief during the Renaissance that the female body is “naturally grotesque” (Stallybrass 126). It is this view, he claims, which prompted the male concept of “constant surveillance” of women, which was centered on three areas: “the mouth, chastity, the threshold of the house” (126). In his own use of metaphor, Bakhtin also creates a subconscious link between the female body and the grotesque, stating that “[Grotesque realism] is the fruitful earth and the womb. It is always conceiving” (Bakhtin 21). The womb as synecdoche for the grotesque body is perhaps more fitting than any other body part for this role, as it takes in all of the principles of rebirth and renewal that the tradition ideally encompasses. However, the pregnant body brooked much contradiction during the Renaissance—on one level, it was recognized as the most naturally grotesque of all bodies, but its imagery and language also became imported into the classical tradition, because if taken from the temporary perspective of the child, the womb is the most enclosed and isolated of all spaces—and as Bakhtin elucidates, “[the classical body] was isolated, alone, fenced off from all other bodies” (29). Yet to see the pregnant body as classical is to ignore the ultimate outcome of pregnancy, which entails a physical projection beyond the individual self, and a cycle of creation that is entirely grotesque at its base.

Bakhtin’s use of the word “womb” to describe the philosophy of the grotesque could not be more appropriate in light of the character Ursla in Ben Jonson’s Bartholmew Fair. In this play, we can find the epitome of the grotesque female body, as well as an overarching picture of the grotesque tradition itself (if we are going to look outside Rabelais’s works for such an example). While Ursla, in contrast to Win Littlewit, is not physically pregnant with child, she represents a different kind of pregnancy—she is “pregnant” with the entire carnivalesque culture; as Overdo exclaims of her, “This is the very womb and bed of enormity gross as herself!” (Jonson II.ii.102-103). “Enormity” is also synonymous with the body which is “excessive,” a term Bakhtin constantly uses to depict the grotesque body. Indeed, Ursla is an excessive woman; not only is she full of bodily excess, but she also swears excessively, drinks excessively, and is easily provoked to anger. She “gives birth” to the fair culture in that everything that represents the grotesque body emerges from her booth—fighting, laughing, drinking, eating, stealing, copulating. She prepares not only pigs, but prostitutes. While she is a figure for the audience to laugh at, this laughter is not that of mere aversion. As Bakhtin says, “The people’s ambivalent laughter…expresses the point of view of the whole world; he who is laughing also belongs to it” (12). Ursla is a woman who represents the life of the fair itself, the belly of it, in all its simultaneous glory and grotesqueness.

In her arguments with Winwife and Quarlous, Ursla indoctrinates the upper-class men into the spirit of the fair and the grotesque body as well. The three of them seem to enjoy this heated exchange, engaging in a kind of mutually beneficial ritual—Quarlous clearly enjoys making Ursla incensed, and it gives Ursla an excuse to be. It provides her with the opportunity to swear her worst, thereby proving her own grotesque stature; she calls Quarlous a “dog’s-head,” a “trendle-tail,” a “pimp,” a “pannier-man’s bastard,” and insults his mother on several different counts (II.v.112, 110). Significantly, in calling Quarlous a “trendle-tail,” and a “dog’s-head,” Ursla associates him with a base animal nature, similar to her own constant personal comparison to her pigs: Quarlous calls her “a walking sow of tallow” (II.v.70) and Winwife says “her language grows greasier than her pigs” (II.v.121). In this way, Ursla forces the richer male visitors to acknowledge a truth about their own nature, as connected to its own vital animalistic source. As Bakhtin comments, “The combination of human and animal traits, is, as we know, one of the most ancient grotesque forms” (316).

It is also important to emphasize the role that language plays in the culture of the grotesque. Excessiveness of language, perhaps, is the most notable; repetition of words abounds in Bartholmew Fair—John Littlewit constantly repeating Win’s name, for instance, or the token phrases that many of the characters have (such as Knockem’s “vapours,” or Wasp’s crude “turd i’your teeth”). Although women do not have as many of their own token phrases in the play, we can see that they are allowed a certain freedom of expression in the openly grotesque world of the comedy, like that of the fair itself; we do not see such an obvious level of verbal openness in the atmosphere of the tragedy. Lower-class women are granted the right to be loud, in context of the fair’s world, by virtue of their salesmanship. Bakhtin emphasizes that “The role of the cries in the marketplace and in the streets was important. The city rang with these many voices. Each food, wine, or other merchandise had its own words and melody and its special intonations, its distinct verbal and musical imagery” (Bakhtin 182) For instance, we meet the saleswoman Joan Trash, who cries her gingerbread wares loudly, and argues openly with Leatherhead, who has his booth next door. She spits, “Though I be a little crooked in my body, I’ll be found as upright in my dealing as any woman in Smithfield, I. Charm me!” (II.ii.23-25). This assertive statement comes in response to Leatherhead’s threat that Overdo will “charm her,” or subdue her tongue, and this idea of subduing a woman’s tongue instinctively brings up Stallybrass’s observation of the male “policing” of the woman’s mouth. However, Joan Trash simply scoffs at the notion of any representative of classical order attempting to silence her. The culture of the grotesque body, as we see, is far more accepting of women’s voices, even when it jestingly attacks jabberers, for it is by nature, as Bakhtin notes, “a culture of the loud word” (182).

We have, however, in seemingly stark opposition to Ursla and Joan Trash, Grace Wellborn, who is anything but loud. Indeed, Grace is on stage often and says very little; in general, she complacently agrees with what the male characters around her decide to do. In one sense, she could be seen as representative of the idealized classical female body, what Peter Stallybrass calls “the normative Woman” (127). This is the woman that the Renaissance’s patriarchal society was trying to create, using the dominant ideologies it presented to women, particularly those of the upper-class. Stallybrass states that this woman, “…like Bakhtin’s classical body, is rigidly “finished”: her signs are the enclosed body, the closed mouth, the locked house” (127). Grace makes differentiating statements between herself and the non-normative, grotesque woman when she says, “Truly, I have no such fancy to the Fair, nor ambition to see it; there’s none goes thither of any quality or fashion” (I.v.118-119).

However, even in Grace there resides some measure of defiance of these classical standards of woman’s silence and complacency, and she occasionally gives voice to this repressed nature. In her handful of asides, muttered when no one but the audience can hear, she expresses her feelings of rebellion; when Cokes complements Win and exclaims, “Would I might marry her,” Grace mutters quietly, “So would I, or anybody else, so I might scape you” (I.v.75, I.v.77). Additionally, she is not attracted to power and status enough to make her entirely normative: she could, after all, possess such a position by marrying Cokes. As Grace admits, “I know—he is a fool, and has an estate, and I might govern him, and enjoy a friend beside” (IV.iii.12-14). However, she states, “…these are not my aims. I must have a husband I must love, or I cannot live with him. I shall ill make one of these politic wives!” (IV.iii.14-16). It is “these politic wives” who often become the victims of dramatic tragedy. Marrying for love is the quintessential mark of a patriarchy-defiant woman, and pursuing bodily desire is the mark of the grotesque. It remains ambiguous whether Grace is attracted as such to Winwife or Quarlous, but she certainly seems to prefer them to Cokes, both physically and intellectually, and she acts on that preference. Grace also states, “If fate send me an understanding husband, I have no fear at all but mine own manners shall make him a good one” (IV.iii.34-36). This suggests her own faith in her power as a woman to shape men, rather than be shaped by them.

Mistress Overdo and Win Littlewit, on the other hand, who are also of the upper-class, change dramatically throughout the play, and their exposure to the life of the fair culminates in their ultimate “breakdown” of classical barriers, and an embrace of the grotesque nature of the body—in the case of these two women, however, this means becoming sexually, more than verbally, open. Mistress Overdo is, from the onset of the play, much more talkative than Grace, and notably, she is also the one who approaches Whit about prostitution. She asks Whit, “Shall I entreat a courtesy of you, Captain?” and whispers it into his ear: the next thing we know Ursla is helping Overdo to a jordan to change (IV.iv.170-171). Mistress Overdo comes to openly speak of her sexual preferences, saying “…though I am a Justice of Peace’s wife, I do love men of war, and the sons of the sword, when they come before my husband” (IV.iv.197-199).

It is also important to note that Bartholmew Fair ends with a collective coming-together, of both men and women, without general consequences or punishment to anyone who has “transgressed” themselves, including the cuckolding wives. Quarlous reminds the stunned Master Overdo to “…remember you are but Adam, flesh and blood!...Forget your other name of Overdo, and invite us all to supper” ( The banquet is itself a powerful grotesque form—one which Bakhtin devotes an entire chapter to—and a celebratory image. Quarlous tells Overdo they will “…drown the memory of all enormity in [Overdo’s] biggest bowl at home” ( The irony is that in drowning enormity, they are engaging in further enormity, or excess; thus the result is that the grotesque body continues to perpetuate itself. The recognition by now, however, is that this nature is inherent in everyone, and the characters in the play who considered themselves “above” it all, have seen that they clearly are not; in this, they are able to feast and admit the unity in all of them; ultimately, it brings them, and the audience, closer together, and it does so with a genial outlook towards gender, because it proves that everyone is equally laughable—and even cuckolding can be funny. Because the language of Bartholmew Fair is ultimately laughter, which is unity-inducing, it is in a much less complicated position than the tragedy, which prompts one to look for answers, for culpability. Most tragedies also focus on the lives of aristocratic characters, where the stakes are perceived to be high—which opens the door to experiencing a different tension, reflecting the classical body. As Bakhtin explains, “[Grotesque language] was unlike the tongue of official literature, or of the ruling classes—the aristocracy, the nobles, the high-ranking clergy and the top burghers—though the elemental force of the folk idiom penetrated even these circles” (154).

This elemental grotesque force, despite attempts at its suppression, is also illustrative of Webster’s revenge tragedy The Duchess of Malfi. Such repression is evident in the repression of laughter itself; the power of laughter in the court setting is dangerously constrained, as opposed to the open joviality of the fair. An example that illustrates this is the scene in which Roderigo and Grisolan laugh at a joke Silvio makes about Duke Ferdinand’s horse, and Ferdinand turns to them and says, “Why do you laugh? Methinks, you that are courtiers should be / my touchwood, take fire when I give fire; that is, laugh but when I laugh…” (I.ii.38-39). This idea of controlling even the most basic expressions of the body translates even more intensely to aristocratic men’s control of women. Ferdinand hopes, too, that the Duchess will be his “touchwood,” though she clearly refuses to be so easily controlled, either in her speech or her sexuality, two of the areas of policing which Stallybrass focuses on. This becomes apparent to us from her first lines in the play: “Diamonds are of most value, / They say, that have passed through most jewelers hands” (I.iii.7-8).

As critic Kathleen McLuskie points out, our initial introduction to the Duchess makes her almost more fitting to a comedy than a tragedy, and that in these words, the Duchess “…reveals a figure from comedy, rather than an emblem from a legend of good women” (McLuskie 79). Her words provoke laughter, and align her with the women’s actions in Bartholmew Fair. She almost sounds like Win or Mistress Overdo and the perspectives they eventually espouse. Though she addresses a serious subject, she does so with a comic lightness. The audience cannot help but laugh, and will surely look more easily on her subject matter for that. However, her brothers, encased as they are in the classical body and their own position in the body politic, do not even chuckle, and so set up their lives to become a tragedy, rather than the comedy they could be if they embraced the changeable nature of sexuality and acknowledged female sexual desire.

It becomes clear that Ferdinand and the Cardinal are trying to make the Duchess into Stallybrass’s Normative Woman, a rigid, fixed and finished thing that does not reflect her true, inner nature. The Duchess even has to remind Antonio that she is not such a creature; she tells him, “Make not your heart so dead a piece of flesh, / To fear more than to love me…This is flesh and blood sir; / ‘Tis not the figure cut in alabaster / Kneels at my husband’s tomb” (I.iii.154-158). The Duchess refuses to be seen as the solid, finished structure that society would have her seem, but rather points to the open and constantly flowing nature of her body. She also provokes the grotesque nature of Antonio’s own heart; it is not an abstract classical idea, but a “piece of flesh,” although not a dead one—a palpitating, moving, and flowing organ. After Ferdinand’s torture, the Duchess, feeling utterly defeated, asks Cariola, “Who do I look like now?” Cariola tellingly replies, “Like to your picture in the gallery, / A deal of life in show, but none in practice” (IV.ii.29, 30-31). As a painting, she is what the Renaissance patriarchy ideally wants a woman to resemble.

In the midst of her imprisonment and anguish, the Duchess asks Bosola a similar question, and he replies, “Thou art some great woman, sure, for riot begins to sit on thy forehead, / clad in gray hairs, twenty years sooner than on a merry milkmaid’s” (IV.ii.120-121). Bosola’s words have major class connotations, and they directly raise the question of the grotesque versus the classical. Better for a woman to be a lower-class “nobody,” Bosola implies, than to be great and admired as the Duchess is. In such a position as a milkmaid it is easier for a woman to embrace her own nature, and her own body, than it is for an upper-class woman constantly under the scrutiny of the court, where she falls prey to classical standards of women’s behavior.

Despite the inherent difficulty women in her position find in turning away from the classical body paradigm, we nevertheless find many instances in which the Duchess does deviate from this norm. The Duchess jokingly says to Antonio, when he insists on entering her chamber at night, “You are a lord of misrule”—directly linking her pleasure at seeing him to the low-brow carnivalesque culture, as the “lord of misrule” refers to the elected fool-monarch of the fair (III.ii.7, 1491). Furthermore, she engages in a somewhat taboo conversation about sleeping habits with her handmaiden and her lover, very much an un-aristocratic subject. The Duchess also openly kisses Antonio in front of Cariola, and the trio strike up a discussion about what Cariola ought to look for in a man. Cariola asks, “If there were proposed to me, wisdom, riches, and beauty, / In three several young men, which should I choose?” (III.ii.32-33). Antonio points out that Paris chose Aphrodite, goddess of beauty & love—and it seems that the Duchess has chosen similarly—a choice that is about following one’s own sexuality, rather than male relatives’ recommendations.

We find, too, that the first exchange of proposals between the Duchess and Antonio is similarly in the nature of grotesque playfulness. As McLuskie observes, the scene “…combines a bawdy joke about rings and fingers with more rarified neoplatonic images of perfect harmony to create an effect which transcends both sentimentality about pure love and moralizing condemnation of a widow’s lust” (80). In this sense, the intrusion of the grotesque into the classical becomes the ultimate depiction of a most genuine love, and the two traditions find a kind of mutual benefaction in each other, when they are simply allowed to mingle without interference.

The Duchess’s fullest realization of the open body, however, actually comes after her death—in the phenomenon of her voice extending from beyond the grave to Antonio, as an echo of his and Delio’s speech (we can be certain it is her voice, for under the scene description, Webster explicitly names the voice “Echo from the Duchess’ grave” (V.iii.)). As a supernatural occurrence, this voice is extremely grotesque in nature, as well as piercing, and is very much a “transgression” of the self. It is particularly ironic in light of Bosola’s dying statement that, “We are only like dead walls, or vaulted graves, / That, ruined, yield no echo…” (V.v.93-94). Although the goal of the dead Duchess’s grotesque voice fails, which is to convince Antonio not to walk into his own death-trap, there is something fundamentally powerful about the way in which she is able to make herself heard, even more loudly in death than in life.

It is also important not to ignore Julia, who represents a woman who embraces the grotesque tradition much more openly, and with less internal (or, for that matter, external) struggle than the Duchess. McLuskie notes, “…[Julia’s] sexuality is accepted, as we see from the way the men joke with her in Act I (I, ii, 23-33) because as the loose wife of an old man, she fits into a conventional category” (McLuskie 87). The tone of the men’s conversations with Julia, specifically the Cardinal’s and Bosola’s, is playful, lighthearted; they could never carry on in such a manner with the Duchess about sexuality and changeability. It is Julia’s capacity to fit into a category that is traditionally comic and grotesque that gives her such a freedom to speak openly. The Duchess has yet to achieve such an acceptance, because her “obligation” to the classical body is perceived by all, whereas Julia’s is not. Julia’s comfortable place in a grotesque category makes her sexual deviance laughable and relatable, rather than purely despicable—and as Bakhtin explains, laughter is in itself a grotesque emission, with liberating implications: “Laughter purifies from dogmatism, from the intolerant and the petrified; it liberates from fanaticism and pedantry, from fear and intimidation, from didacticism, naivete and illusion…” (Bakhtin 123).

Furthermore, when Bosola expresses concern about whether the Cardinal will blame him for his dalliance with Julia, she immediately assures him, “…If I see and steal a diamond, / The fault is not I’th’stone, but in me the thief / That purloins it” (V.ii.176-178). This points to the Renaissance’s societal tendency to have double-standards accusing women, but also points to Julia’s decision to own her own sexuality, to act as subject, not object. In using the word “diamond,” she also establishes a link to the Duchess, who, as mentioned above, refers to herself hypothetically as a diamond early on in the play. The Duchess may be a diamond, a precious jewel, but Julia, as more openly a woman of the grotesque body, is a diamond thief. This relationship is also interlaced with class; as a woman slightly lower in class than the Duchess, and likewise a woman who is of an established comic and grotesque category, she possesses a kind of agency that the Duchess does not, despite the Duchess’s more prestigious social status.

The major importance of the female classical body in The Duchess of Malfi becomes its symbolic effect on the male relative, and specifically on the male name. Ferdinand states, “…That body of hers, / While my blood ran pure in’t, was more worth / than that which thou wouldst comfort, called a soul” (IV.ii.119-121). This classical emphasis on the importance of female sexuality to male reputation—which is of weightiest importance on an aristocratic level, as only those who have a reputation can worry about their reputation—is also present in Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, where it represents a hindering force to the female realization of the grotesque body. The entire play, as Mary Laughlin Fawcett states, can be examined as “a meditation of language and the body” (263). What this meditation suggests is the relationship of the grotesque to the classical in terms of verbal and bodily expression. Titus kills his daughter Lavinia because she has irretrievably lost “…That more dear / than hands or tongue, her spotless chastity,” but even more importantly, because she has soiled his own body metaphorically, by tainting his reputation (V.ii.176-177). He exclaims, “Die, die, Lavinia, and thy shame with thee, / And with thy shame thy father’s sorrow die!” (V.iii.46-47). We can garner that Titus’s reasons for killing Lavinia are ultimately related to the classical conceptions of male honor, and female bodily shame, though he does allow Lavinia to have her vengeance before her death.

Titus’s actions recall Ferdinand’s statement that, “Upon a time, Reputation, Love, and Death / Would travel o’er the world; and it was concluded / That they should part, and take three several ways” (III.ii.120-122). Like Titus, Ferdinand interprets Reputation as the most important of these three, for indeed it is venerated in the classical tradition. Lavinia, like the Duchess, dies because she is seen as forsaking the reputation of her family, though unwillingly. However, it is Love and Death that are both key to the grotesque body, whereas Reputation is of little consequence. Love and Death perpetuate the cycle that is the world of the grotesque, and when they find their way into aristocratic tragedy, they actually bring a kind of hope within them. Even Death is appreciated because as Bakhtin states, “The essence of the grotesque is precisely to construct a contradictory and double-faced fullness of life. Negation and destruction (death of the old) are included as an essential phase, inseparable from affirmation, from the birth of something new and better” (63). In Death itself, which usually arrives in spades at the end of most revenge tragedies, the grotesque is represented in its most healing activity, so even while the grotesque body may be denied and debased by patriarchally-oriented characters throughout these plays, ultimately it always has the last word.

Like Bartholmew Fair, Titus Andronicus also concludes with a banquet, a traditional way to close out and celebrate the grotesque body—however, this is more than a banquet for the grotesque body; this is a banquet of the grotesque body. Titus makes good on his threat to Chiron and Demetrius: “[I will]…make two pasties of your shameful heads, / And bid that strumpet, your unhallowed dam, / Like to the earth, swallow her own increase (V.ii.190-192). Although this may seem to be a strange derivative—taking the most excessive of a form that is already excessive—there is a kind of closure in this grotesque, and female, consumption. As Tamora consumes her children, the earth, in parallel form, consumes hers; this means taking most of the characters in the play into their graves, and leaving room for fresh blood to continue the cycle. This is fitting with what Bakhtin refers to as “the ambivalence of the material bodily lower stratum, which destroys and generates, swallows and is swallowed” (163). It only makes sense, then, that what Quintus calls the “swallowing womb” in Act II eventually becomes so vividly literalized. Despite its ominous tones, it is an idea that bears the positive connotations of constant renewal, rebirth, and consumption, which are all linked to an underlying feminine force (II.iii.239). This sense of the liberating grotesque is crucial, though we may not initially recognize it because, as readers, we feel so overwhelmed by the play’s cascade of dismembered body parts and tears.

Tears themselves, a prolific image in the play, are grotesque, because they entail protrusion and bodily excess. The growing proliferation of tears in both Titus Andronicus and The Duchess of Malfi become almost a replacement for the laughter that permeates works like Bartholmew Fair, but both bodily emissions signify a similar kind of power. Tears, like laughter, are particularly poignant for women, in terms of giving them a voice that is both grotesque and undeniably eloquent. Bosola picks up on this phenomenon, while watching the Duchess in her imprisonment, for as he states, “You may discern the shape of loveliness / More perfect in her tears than in her smiles; / She will muse four hours together; and her silence, / Methinks; expresseth more than if she spake” (IV.i.7-10).

The Duchess’s silence is loud, but so, too, is Lavinia’s even more forced, physically tongueless silence. Fawcett hypothesizes that “[Lavinia’s] silence after her mutilation appears to be a development…rather than a stopping or reversal” (266). Not only does Lavinia’s silence make her presence more commanding, but she actually develops the means to communicate her thoughts, through gestures with her stumps, and the manipulation of a staff held in her mouth, to write upon the dust—this is even a more grotesque and unusual form of communication than speech itself. Thus we see that ideas of the loud, grotesque, or open mouth are much more complicated than first we might assume; the grotesque principle can work through even the most forcibly closed body without necessarily having to utilize physical speech. The grotesque nature spills itself out from the classical body through other manifestations—tears, laughter, loud silences which project meaning, and creatively alternative physical means of communication.

Kathleen McLuskie states that “By and large the women [of Renaissance literature] can be divided into the witty wives of city comedy and the doomed victims of tragedy” (78). Although such a division is indeed accurate on a general level, this account also judges the wittiness of female tragic victims only a temporary comic reprieve before dark events ensue; it does not address the freeing, opening effects of the grotesque upon these women. Indeed, the wittiness and grotesqueness of the wives of city comedy are embedded in aristocratic women such as Lavinia and the Duchess, although sometimes buried deeply, and it is the presence of this grotesque nature in women of all classes that helps them to transcend the especially limiting classical cages placed upon them by the Renaissance patriarchy. As the grotesque body leaps genres—transmitting itself from comedy to tragedy—it brings with it opportunities for women to make themselves heard, no matter what the message, from Joan’s cries of “Gingerbread!” to the Duchess of Malfi’s persistent, desperate echo.

Works Cited

Bakhtin, Mikhail. Rabelais and His World. Helene Iswolsky, trans. Bloomington: Indiana U P, 1984. 1965.

Fawcett, Mary Laughlin. “Arms/Words/Tears: Language and the Body in Titus Andronicus.” ELH 50.2 (1983) 261-277.

Jonson, Ben. Bartholmew Fair. G.R. Hibbard, ed. New York: W.W. Norton,1998.

McLuskie, Kathleen. “Drama and sexual politics: the case of Webster’s Duchess.” Drama, Sex and Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge U P, 1985.

Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Titus Andronicus. Sylvan Barnet, ed. New York: New American Library/Penguin, 2005.

Stallybrass, Peter. “Patriarchal Territories: The Body Enclosed.” Rewriting the Renaissance: The Discourses of Sexual Difference in Early Modern Europe. Chicago and London: U of Chicago P, 1986.

Webster, John. The Duchess of Malfi. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Eds. Stephen Greenblatt and M.H. Abrams. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006. 8th Ed, V.I. 1462-1535.

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