I wanna hold your hand: touch, intimacy and equality in Christopher Marlowe's "Hero and Leander" and George Chapman's "Continuation
This thesis examines Christopher Marlowe's poem Hero and Leander and George Chapman's Continuation thereof through a theoretical lens that includes theories of intimacy, sexuality and touch taken from Lee Edelman, Daniel Gil, James Bromley, Katherine Rowe and others. Hands are seen as the privileged organ of touch as well as synecdoche for human agency. Because it is all too often an unexamined sense, the theory of touch is dealt with in detail. The analysis of hands and touch leads to a discussion of how Marlowe's writing creates a picture of sexual intimacy that goes against traditional institutions and resists the traditional role of the couple in society. Marlowe's poem favors an equal, companionate intimacy that does not engage in traditional structures, while Chapman's Continuation to Marlowe's work serves to reaffirm the transgressive nature of Marlowe's poem by reasserting traditional social institutions surrounding the couple. Viewing the two pieces of literature together further supports the conclusion that Marlowe's work is transgressive because of how conservative Chapman's reaction to Hero and Leander is.