Crossing Gender in Shakespeare
Feminist Psychoanalysis and the Difference Within
Routledge – 2010 – 186 pages
Series: Routledge Studies in Shakespeare
In this book, Stone effects a return to gender, after many years of neglect by Twenty-First-Century critics, via a methodology of close reading that foregrounds moments of sexual decentering and disequilibrium within the text and in the interstices of the dialogue between Shakespeare and his critics. Issues addressed range from the cross dressing of Viola and Imogen to the cross gartering of Malvolio, the sound of "un" and the uncanny lyric narcissism of Richard II, Hamlet’s misogyny, androgyny, and the poison of marital/political "union," Othello’s fears of impotence, rumors of Antony’s emasculation versus the militant yet nurturing triumphalism of Cleopatra’s suicide, and Posthumus’s hysterical reaction to the "woman’s part" in himself and his compensatory fantasies of parthenogenesis. Stone unpacks ideologically powerful but unsustainable male claims to self-identity and sameness, set over against man’s type-gendering of women as the origin of divisive sexual difference, discord, and the dissolution of marriage. Men who blame women for the difference that divides and weakens their sense of unity and sameness to oneself are unconscious that the uncanny feminine is not outside the masculine, its reassuring canny opposite; it is inside the masculine, its uncanny difference from itself.
"James W. Stone's book is a true essay, a daring exploration of gender in Twelfth Night, Richard II, Hamlet, Othello, Antony and Cleopatra, and Cymbeline… almost always thrilling." - Winfried Schleiner, Renaissance and Reformation
"The strength of Crossing Gender in Shakespeare is its close readings and attention to intersections of language and gender… Stone offers many valuable insights into nuances in Shakespeare's depictions of the psychology, or 'difference within,' of gender." - Jan Purnis, Shakespeare Quarterly
"Among the myriad of publications about gender in Shakespeare, James W. Stone's book earns a rightful place. Stone's attention to wordplay and textuality as sexuality (and vice versa) is sustained in an effective manner throughout the book." - Erin Felicia Labbie, The Upstart Crow: A Shakespeare Journal
Preface Acknowledgments Introduction 1: The Transvestic Glove-Text of Twelfth Night 2: The Sound of "Un" in Richard II 3: Androgynous "Union" and the Woman in Hamlet 4: Impotence and the Feminine in Othello 5: Martial Cleopatra and the Remasculation of Antony 6: The Woman Within in Cymbeline Epilogue: The Tain of the Mirror Notes Bibliography Index
James W. Stone is a visiting fellow in the Department of English Language and Literature at the National University of Singapore.