Bromley 2013 Sex

Title Information

Editors: James M. Bromley and Will Stockton

Title: Sex before Sex

Subtitle: Figuring the Act in Early Modern England

Place: Minneapolis, MN

Publisher: University of Minnesota Press

Year: 2013

Pages: 320pp.

ISBN-13: 9780816680764 (cloth) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9780816680771 (paper) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9781452939476 (ebk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: 16th Century, 17th Century | English History

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Link: JSTOR (Restricted Access)

Additional Information


James Bromley, Department of English, Miami

Will Stockton, Department of English, Clemson


  8. Aping Rape: Animal Ravishment and Sexual Knowledge in Early Modern England
Holly Dugan (p. 213)
  9. The Seduction of Milton's Lady: Rape, Psychoanalysis, and the Erotics of Consumption in Comus
Will Stockton (p. 233)


»What is sex exactly? Does everyone agree on a definition? And does that definition hold when considering literary production in other times and places? Sex before Sex makes clear that we cannot simply transfer our contemporary notions of what constitutes a sex act into the past and expect them to be true for the people who were then reading literature and watching plays. The contributors confront how our current critical assumptions about definitions of sex restrict our understanding of representations of sexuality in early modern England.
Drawing attention to overlooked forms of sexual activity in early modern culture, from anilingus and interspecies sex to “chin-chucking” and convivial drinking, Sex before Sex offers a multifaceted view of what sex looked like before the term entered history. Through incisive interpretations of a wide range of literary texts, including Romeo and Juliet, The Comedy of Errors, Paradise Lost, the figure of Lucretia, and pornographic poetry, this collection queries what might constitute sex in the absence of a widely accepted definition and how a historicized concept of sex affects the kinds of arguments that can be made about early modern sexualities.« (Source: University of Minnesota Press)


Friedlander, Ari. Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies 15(1) (Winter 2015): 127-132. – Full Text: Project MUSE (Restricted Access)

Garrison, John. Bryn Mawr Review of Comparative Literature 10(2) (Fall 2013). – Full Text: Bryn Mawr Review of Comparative Literature (Free Access)

Roberts, Emily J. Comitatus: A Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies 45 (2014): 326-329. – Full Text: Project MUSE (Restricted Access)

Added: January 24, 2015 – Last updated: January 24, 2015