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Sex before SexFiguring the Act in Early Modern England$
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James M. Bromley and Will Stockton

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780816680764

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816680764.001.0001

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Introduction: Figuring Early Modern Sex

Introduction: Figuring Early Modern Sex

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction: Figuring Early Modern Sex
Source:
Sex before Sex
Author(s):

James M. Bromley

Will Stockton

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816680764.003.0001

This introductory chapter provides a background to the definition of “sex” through a description of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where the characters Lysander and Hermia exchanged a dialogue about whether to sleep apart or together. It talks about the recent study conducted by the Kinsey Institute, which emphasizes that sex is a non-self-identical concept that is subject to different constructions and plays different roles within narratives of sexuality, love, intimacy, relationality, pleasure, criminality, and reproduction. The chapter concludes with an analysis of early modern and modern forms of the narratives about sex, addressing what sex is and how people construct knowledge about sex.

Keywords:   sex, Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lysander, Hermia, sexuality, love

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