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 research elucidates how fetish gadgets validate ideological structures of strength via materializing advanced worth in a number of registers. offering distinctive discussions of not just bearded males but additionally beardless boys, bearded ladies, and half-bearded hermaphrodites, writer Mark Albert Johnston argues that attending heavily to early smooth English culture's remedy of the beard as a fetish item eventually exposes the contingency of different types like intercourse, gender, age, race, and sexuality.

Johnston mines a various cross-section of latest discourses—adult and children’s drama, narrative verse and prose, renowned ballads, epigrams and proverbs, historic debts, pamphlet literature, diaries, letters, wills, court docket files and felony records, scientific and surgical manuals, lectures, sermons, almanacs, and calendars—in order to supply facts for his cultural claims. Johnston’s proof invokes a number of the period’s most renowned 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 help the suggestion that the beard was once a palimpsestic web site of contested that means at which complicated and contradictory values conflict and converge.

Johnston’s studying 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 numerous registers that fetish accomplishes allows its cultural and psychic naturalizing function.

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