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Providing an alphabetical listing of sexual language and locution in 16th and 17th-century English, this book draws especially on the more immediate literary modes: the theatre, broadside ballads, newsbooks and pamphlets. The aim is to assist the reader of Shakespearean and Stuart literature to identify metaphors and elucidate meanings; and more broadly, to chart, through illustrative quotation, shifting and recurrent linguistic patterns. Linguistic habit is closely bound up with the ideas and assumptions of a period, and the figurative language of sexuality across this period is highly illuminating of socio-cultural change as well as linguistic development. Thus the entries offer as much to those concerned with social history and the history of ideas as to the reader of Shakespeare or Dryden. Gordon Williams has also published "Coriolanus" (a Macmillan Master Guide, 1987); and "Macbeth" (a Macmillan Text and Performance book, 1985).
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Gordon Williams is Reader in English at the University of Wales, Lampeter. Previous books include A Dictionary of Sexual Language and Imagery in Shakespearean and Stuart Literature (3 vols, Athlone, 1994) and Shakespeare, Sex and the Print Revolution (Athlone, 1996).Review:
"An indispensable resource...an immense repository of data about sexual folklore and sexual practices."—Times Higher Education Supplement
"Tremendous value to students of sixteenth, seventeenth and early eighteenth century literature and culture."—Early Modern Literary Studies
"A prodigious project, for which historians of sexuality and social, literary and art historians and critics can be grateful."—Journal of the History of Sexuality
"Deserves a place in all academic libraries and should quickly become a standard reference work for anyone interested in the language of the early modern period."—Sixteenth Century Journal
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