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Widows and Suitors in Early Modern English Comedy - Jennifer Panek

Widows and Suitors in Early Modern English Comedy

Hardcover Published: 1st October 2004
ISBN: 9780521832717
Number Of Pages: 254

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The courtship and remarriage of a rich widow was a popular motif in early modern comic theatre. Jennifer Panek brings together a wide variety of texts, from ballads and jest-books to sermons and court records, to examine the staple widow of comedy in her cultural context and to examine early modern attitudes to remarriage. She persuasively challenges the current critical tendency to see the stereotype of the lusty widow as a tactic to dissuade women from second marriages, arguing instead that it was deployed to enable her suitors to regain their masculinity, under threat from the dominant, wealthier widow. The theatre, as demonstrated by Middleton, Dekker, Beaumont and Fletcher and others, was the prime purveyor of a fantasy in which a young man's sexual mastery of a widow allowed him to seize the economic opportunity she offered.

Industry Reviews

'Panek convincingly demonstrates that widows in sixteenth-century England, unlike their Continental counterparts, were encouraged to remarry for a variety of good social, economic and familial reasons.' Times Literary Supplement

A note on texts
The widow's choice: female remarriage in early modern England
The widow's threat: domestic government and male anxiety
The suitor's fantasy: courtship and compensation
The husband's fear: the lusty widow as wife
A playwright's response: four Middletonian remarriage plots
Works cited
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521832717
ISBN-10: 0521832713
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 254
Published: 1st October 2004
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2  x 1.7
Weight (kg): 0.54