Julian 2014 Violence

Title Information

Author: Erin Julian

Title: Laughing Matters

Subtitle: Sexual Violence in Jacobean and Caroline Comedy

Thesis: Ph.D. Thesis, McMaster University

Year: 2014


Language: English

Keywords: 17th Century, 18th Century | English History | Representations: Literature

Full Text

Link: MacSphere (Free Access)

Additional Information

Abstract: »This dissertation examines representations of sexual violence in Jacobean and Caroline comedy. While representations of rape in early modern tragedy have received considerable attention, criticism has largely overlooked the extent of sexual violence in early modern comedy – in part because comedy tends to represent sexual violence in ways that do not match up with recognisable rape scripts. This project argues, however, that, like rape, the sexual violences of comedy “humiliate and induce fear, constraining the activities and choices of victims” (Anderson and Doherty 21). The study particularly examines dramatic representations of whore shaming, rape hearings, and cuckoldry in order to discuss how sexual violence is encoded in comic tropes, the comedic genre, and early modern culture generally. This systematic sexual violence took a daily toll on the lives of early modern women, limiting their ability to give meaningful consent, to control their bodies and sexual expressions, and to make choices within marriage. But while comedy often invites its audience to laugh at sexually violated women, rendering the violence they experience acceptable, it can also invite us to see that violence as violence – thereby challenging the ethics of our laughter.« (Source: MacSphere)

Wikipedia: Restoration comedy

Added: November 22, 2014 – Last updated: November 22, 2014