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The courtship and remarriage of a rich widow was a popular motif in early modern comic theatre. Jennifer Panek brings together a variety of texts, from ballads and jest-books to sermons and court records, to examine this staple of comic theatre in its cultural context. She persuasively challenges the stereotype of the lusty widow as a tactic to dissuade women from second marriages, arguing instead that it was deployed to enable her suitors to regain their masculinity, under threat from the dominant, wealthier widow.Read more
- Uses a wide range of literary texts and historical documentary sources to establish cultural attitudes to remarriage by widows in the early modern period
- A good English-language study of widows in early modern literature
- Gives substantial close readings of neglected plays by, for example, Thomas Middleton
Reviews & endorsements
"instructive and entertaining...This account of the myths surrounding widowhood and remarriage in the period's comedies offers valuable insights into the connections between age, sexuality, economics, and identity. Thoughtful and well-written, Panek's book will repay the attention of any reader with even the least interest in the subject." - Renaissance Quarterly Linda Anderson, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
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- Date Published: May 2007
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521036627
- length: 256 pages
- dimensions: 228 x 153 x 10 mm
- weight: 0.39kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
A note on texts
1. The widow's choice: female remarriage in early modern England
2. The widow's threat: domestic government and male anxiety
3. The suitor's fantasy: courtship and compensation
4. The husband's fear: the lusty widow as wife
5. A playwright's response: four Middletonian remarriage plots
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