Romeo and Juliet

BookRomeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet

Writers and Their Work


June 1st, 1998

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This study argues that Romeo and Juliet, perhaps Shakespeare’s most popularly-known play, repays thorough investigation – read afresh, the play is an extraordinary exploration of domestic conflict, social relations and linguistic practice. Drawing upon recent criticism on history and literature, and the rarely-discussed work of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century women critics, Sasha Roberts presents new readings of Romeo and Juliet and its early modern cultural context. Concisely-argued chapters address a wide range of themes – including rival texts, body politics, ethnic identity, adolescence, sexuality, masculinity, relations between women, family dynamics, ritual behaviour, language, bawdy, and the commodification of romantic love – and examine the play’s striking imagery of disease, blood, beds, and wombs. Clearly written, this lively and accessible study of Romeo and Juliet will be of interest to readers both new to and familiar with the play.

Author Information

Sasha Roberts is Research Fellow at Roehampton Institute London. She has taught Shakespeare to undergraduates in England and the USA and has lectured widely on Shakespeare and Renaissance Culture in the United Kingdom, Europe and America. She has published articles on Shakespeare and English Renaissance literature and art, and in 1996 jointly-edited a major new anthology of women’s Shakespeare criticism, Women Reading Shakespeare, 1660-1900. Sasha Roberts is currently writing a book on reading Shakespeare in early modern England and providing editorial assistance in the preparation of the forthcoming Arden edition of Hamlet.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Half Title2
Title Page4
List of Illustrations9
A Note on the Text11
1 Which Romeo and Juliet?15
2 Family Dynamics22
Adolescence and marriage23
Mothers and fathers32
3 Constructing Identities45
Public and private space46
Body politics50
Femininity, sexuality, and effeminacy59
Masculinity and male bonding69
Class and community: the Nurse and the Friar80
4 Language and Ritual92
Petrarchism and bawdy talk92
The work of ritual: betrothal, bridal beds, and deathbeds103
Select Bibliography124