This study argues that Romeo and Juliet, perhaps Shakespeare’s most popularly-known play, repays thorough investigation – read afresh, the play is an extraordinary exploration of domestic conflict, social relations and linguistic practice. Drawing upon recent criticism on history and literature, and the rarely-discussed work of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century women critics, Sasha Roberts presents new readings of Romeo and Juliet and its early modern cultural context. Concisely-argued chapters address a wide range of themes – including rival texts, body politics, ethnic identity, adolescence, sexuality, masculinity, relations between women, family dynamics, ritual behaviour, language, bawdy, and the commodification of romantic love – and examine the play’s striking imagery of disease, blood, beds, and wombs. Clearly written, this lively and accessible study of Romeo and Juliet will be of interest to readers both new to and familiar with the play.
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