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Playing DirtySexuality and Waste in Early Modern Comedy$
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Will Stockton

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816674596

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816674596.001.0001

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The Wandering Anus

The Wandering Anus

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 The Wandering Anus
Source:
Playing Dirty
Author(s):

Will Stockton

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816674596.003.0001

This chapter argues for the psychoanalytic concepts of neurosis and repression in the study of comedy and sexuality. It identifies the foundational role of repression in Jonsonian comedy, as a civilizing process working in light of repressing the pleasure of excrementality. Through a reading of Jonson’s poem “On the Famous Voyage” and Sir John Harington’s Metamorphosis of Ajax, the author theorizes a humanist “homopoetics,” a poetics of male linguistic facility opposed to feminine forms of rhetorical waste, following two reformations English Renaissance: the humanist reformation of language and the legal reformation of waste management systems. Homopoetic efforts to sanitize language falter on the exercise of wit as a dually educated and dirty manipulation of meaning. By establishing an exposure and differentiation of excrement, homopoetic discourse likewise establishes a masculine position of control over a promiscuous, feminine rhetorical mode.

Keywords:   homopoetics, comedy, sexuality, neurosis, repression, Renaissance, excrement

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