Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 06 July 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores how we might be compelled to alter our understanding of the emergence of gendered identifications and hierarchies if we were to borrow some of the rethinking of sexuality that queer theory has done with regards to same-sex desire and apply it to other non-normative sexualities—in this case, female promiscuity. Modern scholars have largely rejected the stigma attached to homoerotic desire and practice, and they have thereby been able better to understand and contest the cultural privileges accorded to heterosexual relationships. Similarly, by rejecting the stigma attached to female promiscuity, we as critics can examine how this stigma works to sustain gendered hierarchies. Shakespeare’s Sonnets and A Lover’s Complaint dramatize the power of the discourse of promiscuity to shape the horizons of female identity and male prerogative.

Keywords: lyric poetry, feminism, queer theory, gender, sexuality, Shakespeare, sonnets

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.