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The resources on this page are intended to give you a general overview of queer studies discourse surrounding Shakespeare.
Queer Shakespeare: Desire and Sexuality
Edited by Goran Stanivukovic.
This well-reviewed collection presents thirteen essays on queer themes in Shakespeare’s plays and poetry, including male-to-female crossdressing and same-sex female love. These essays explore, in various ways, how desire and sexuality inform each other in Shakespeare’s work and how both can be interpreted through the lens of queer theory. Published only last year, this is a robust example of the current state of Shakespeare and queer studies in academia.
Shakesqueer: A Queer Companion to the Complete Works of Shakespeare
Edited by Madhavi Menon.
While academic reviewers are divided on how successfully this book achieves its goals, it is a good starting point for research as it contains essays on queerness in all of Shakespeare’s plays, as well as his long poetry and the sonnets, collectively. Some of the best-known academics in queer Shakespeare studies, including Julie Crawford and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, are represented in this collection.
Shakespeare in (Same-Sex) Love
By David LaFontaine.
This short article from The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide gives an overview of homosexual themes in Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Troilus and Cressida, and Twelfth Night. While lacking the depth necessary to support an entire paper with, this is a good starting point for students interested in queer themes in Shakespeare’s plots, and may suggest topics for deeper research.
Toward a Bisexual Shakespeare
By Kaye McLelland.
Was Shakespeare bisexual? Does it matter? McLelland’s article gives an overview of historical efforts to determine Shakespeare’s sexuality and argues in favor of reading Shakespeare’s work through a bisexual lens, instead of erasing coded-bisexual characters and scenes in favor of either hetero- or homosexual interpretations. McLelland acknowledges the usual argument that applying the term “bisexual” to either Shakespeare or his work is anachronistic, and suggests that presentism, which is the viewing of historic texts through a modern lens, can work effectively in theatrical productions.