Shakespeare on Consent

Amanda Bailey


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Taylor & Francis Ltd
10 March 2023
ISBN: 9780367184537
198 pages

From the publisher

Choice is the defining issue of the twenty-first century. As the #MeToo movement extends its legal, social, and political reach around the world, the topic of consent has come under particular scrutiny. Shakespeare on Consent examines crises of consent on the early modern stage and argues that these dramatizations provide a framework for understanding the intersections of coercion, complicity, resistance, and agency.

Beginning with the premise that consent serves as a lever of entitlement, Amanda Bailey introduces a Shakespeare well aware that liberal selfhood has never been universally available. Bailey brings Shakespeare’s work into conversation with the Penn State Sandusky scandal, the Bill Clinton–Monica Lewinsky affair, the rise of "somnophilia," Jordan Peele’s documentary on Lorena Bobbitt, Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Harvey Weinstein’s Shakespeare in Love, amongst others. Bailey considers who is denied access to the apparatus of consent, under what circumstances, and how consent is vitiated by race, class, ethnicity, sexuality, disability, and gender.

Shakespeare on Consent is a wake-up call for all implicated in the injurious outcomes of consent and will inspire those wanting to mobilize choice in the service of social and political transformation.