Sodometries: Renaissance Texts, Modern Sexualities

By Jonathan Goldberg | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
The
Transveftite
Stage:
More on
the Case of
Chriftopher
Marlowe

FIFTY LINES INTO Marlowe’s EdwardII, Gaveston describes entertainments he thinks proper to his king. The work of “wanton poets, pleasant wits” (1.1.51),1 they will provide “Italian masks by night” (55), while by day the spectacle will include pages dressed as “sylvan nymphs” (58) and satyr-like men:

Sometime a lovely boy in Diaris shape,
With hair that gilds the water as it glides,
Crownets of pearl about his naked arms,
And in his sportful hands an olive tree,
To hide those parts which men delight to see,
Shall bathe him in a spring (1.1.61–66)

to be spied by an Actaeon, who will “seem to die” (70). Such sights, he believes, “may draw the pliant king” (53). “The soliloquy,” Sarah Munson Deats notes, “hints of a number of sexual perversions—transvestism (1. 60), homosexuality (1. 65), voyeurism (1. 67), and sadism (11. 69–70)—although how many of these innuendos are deliberate is difficult to ascertain.”2 Hints? Innuendos? By only hearing “hints,” Deats seeks to rescue Marlowe from what she nonetheless characterizes as “sexual perversions”; the lines seem calculated, however, flung out in the face of such a response, taunting it, provoking it. Not that Marlowe has antici-

-105-

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Sodometries: Renaissance Texts, Modern Sexualities
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents xi
  • Preface xv
  • Chapter 1- Intro- Duction ‘That Utterly Confused Category’ 1
  • Part One 27
  • Chapter 2- The Making of Courtly Makers 29
  • Chapter 3- Spenser’s Familiar Letters 63
  • Part Two 103
  • Chapter 4- The Transveftite Stage- More on the Case of Chriftopher Marlowe 105
  • Chapter 5- De­ Siring Hal 145
  • Part Three 177
  • Chapter 6- Dis­ Covering America 179
  • Chapter 7- Bradford’s ‘Ancient Members’ & ‘A Case of Buggery… Amongft Them’ 223
  • Chapter 8- Tailpiece Frome William Bradford to William Buckley 247
  • Reference Matter 251
  • Notes 253
  • Index 289
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