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.
About the author
Stephen Guy-Bray is a professor in the Department of English at the University of British Columbia.
- Short-listed, The Canada Prize in the Humanities