Almost nothing seems to have changed in 400 years … as usual …
subtitled, ‘Food for powder‘
Matthew Beaumont: Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London (London: Verso Books, 2015)
My recent article on Gayle Rubin‘s important Feminist work, ‘The Traffic in Women’ touched upon what has been historically expected of women, especially working class ones. Rubin takes a look at the Marxist position before developing it into a gender rather than class-specific argument: the commodification of women in the marriage market. It’s an excellent read.
And we see Rubin’s position everywhere in Shakespeare and the EMP, where women constantly struggle against the social imperative to marry a man who ticks boxes for their family / parents, love coming as an unexpected bonus. Even comedies such as The Dream feature the tension between ‘kinship‘ and ‘companionate‘ marriages.
To say nothing of the pressures Elizabeth I was under, of course …
In my article, I dipped into Beaumont‘s book for a supporting quotation, but it’s been weighing on my mind. I think it needs to be considered on its own merits.
Continue reading “Quote of the Week: 26 February 2018 (#30)”
Who gives this woman away?
(For non-students, this is part of a series for my A Level students looking at important secondary texts which will assist their studies.)
Gayle Rubin, ‘The Traffic in Women: Notes on the “Political Economy” of Sex’ (1975)
An [If] you be mine, I’ll give you to my friend;
And you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets,
For, by my soul, I’ll ne’er acknowledge thee
(Lord Capulet, Romeo and Juliet, Act III, sc v)
I beg the ancient privilege of Athens,
As she is mine, I may dispose of her:
Which shall be either to this gentleman
Or to her death, according to our law.
(Egeus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act I, sc I)
Not much fun, being a teenage girl in Shakespeare’s day, was it? These intelligent, independent and emotional young women must often have felt like second-class citizens …
Continue reading “Cultural Capital 04: Gayle Rubin, ‘The Traffic In Women’”
‘Good comedy is tragedy narrowly averted’ Jonathan Bate
The Two Gentlemen of Verona: Act V
Over the past year I’ve used the question ‘What’s in a name?’ more than once, dismissing labelling in its many forms, but this feels the best way of articulating my unease with The Two Gentlemen as I finish the play …
Continue reading “PTS 05/031: I Don’t Know Whether To Laugh or Cry …”