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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article explores Middleton's Your Five Gallants. Your Five Gallants is manifestly a post-sumptuary law play, one obsessed with the effect and pleasure of wearing sumptuous clothing – but also with the difficulty of recognizing degree. It is torn between a depiction of the delights of sartorial splendour and acknowledgement that there is little besides the hidden quality of ‘blood’ which divides a husbandman from a nobleman. This is why the play opens with Frippery rather than Katherine. Most romantic comedies track illicit love affairs, but the focus here is on newly licit objects of desire, and its erotically invested encounters are not between women and men, but between bodies and fabric.

Keywords: Thomas Middleton, plays, luxury clothing

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