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I wanna hold your hand: touch, intimacy and equality in Christopher Marlowe's "Hero and Leander" and George Chapman's "Continuation

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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,

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.

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  • 2012

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The moral sense of touch: teaching tactile values in late medieval England

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“The Moral Sense of Touch: Teaching Tactile Values in Late Medieval England” investigates the intersections of popular science and religious education in the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Taking an

“The Moral Sense of Touch: Teaching Tactile Values in Late Medieval England” investigates the intersections of popular science and religious education in the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, the project draws together a range of textual artifacts, from scientific manuals to private prayerbooks, to reconstruct the vast network of touch supporting the late medieval moral syllabus. I argue that new scientific understandings of the five senses, and specifically the sense of touch, had a great impact on the processes, procedures, and parlances of vernacular religious instruction in late medieval England. The study is organized around a set of object lessons that realize the materiality of devotional reading practices. Over the course of investigation, I explore how the tactile values reinforcing medieval conceptions of pleasure and pain were cultivated to educate and, in effect, socialize popular reading audiences. Writing techniques and technologies—literary forms, manuscript designs, illustration programs—shaped the reception and user-experience of devotional texts. Focusing on the cultural life of the sense of touch, “The Moral Sense of Touch” provides a new context for a sense based study of historical literatures, one that recovers the centrality of touch in cognitive, aesthetic, and moral discourses.

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  • 2016