Against Reproduction: Where Renaissance Texts Come From
Published: February 2023© 2010
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 240 Pages
Dimensions: 6.00 x 9.00
240 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 1.00 in
The idea of the author as parent and the text as child is a pervasive metaphor throughout Renaissance poetry and drama. In Against Reproduction, Stephen Guy-Bray sets out to systematically interrogate this common trope, and to consider the limits of using heterosexual reproduction to think of textual creation.
Through an analysis of Renaissance texts by poets and playwrights including William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, and John Milton, Guy-Bray argues that the reproductive metaphor was only one of the ways in which writers presented their own literary production. Their uses of sexual language reveal that these authors were surprisingly ambivalent about their own writing. Guy-Bray suggests that they often presented their work in such a way as to feminize themselves and to associate the writing process with shame and abjection.
Offering fresh perspectives on well-known texts, Against Reproduction is an accessible and compelling book that will affect the study of both Renaissance literature and queer theory.
'Against Reproduction is a pioneering and erudite study that should hold wide appeal for scholars of Renaissance poetry, the history of sexuality, and the history of the book. Stephen Guy-Bray has written a sophisticated book in an accessible and compelling style that sets out to systematically interrogate the guiding trope of literary production in the early modern period: reproduction. He persuasively demonstrates that sexuality and productivity have not always been linked and argues that Renaissance authors engaged erotic metaphors in various ways that were not always determined by the ends of normative (hetero)sexuality.' Amanda Bailey, Department of English, University of Connecticut
'Against Reproduction is exciting, irreverent, and wonderfully erudite. It will be indispensible for scholars of Renaissance texts and queer studies alike.' Madhavi Menon, Department of Literature, American University
- Short-listed - The Canada Prize in the Humanities