Otelo Lynda Boose Essay

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Contents Acknowledgements General Editors’ Preface Introduction LENA COWEN ORLIN 1. ‘Let it be Hid’: The Pornographic Aesthetic of Shakespeare’s Othello LYNDA E. BOOSE Cultural Materialism, Othello and the Politics of Plausibility ALAN SINFIELD Charivari and the Comedy of Abjection in Othello MICHAEL D. BRISTOL Impertinent Trifling: Desdemona’s Handkerchief HARRY BERGER, JR. Brothers of the State: Othello, Bureaucracy and Epistemological Crisis ELIZABETH HANSON Othello on Trial EMILY C. BARTELS Othello’s Identity, Postcolonial Theory and Contemporary African Rewritings of Othello JYOTSNA SINGH v vii ix 1 22 2. 49 78 103 3. 4. 5. 125 148 6. 7. 171 vi CONTENTS 8. Race-ing Othello: Re-Engendering White-Out BARBARA HODGDON Black and White, and Dread All Over: The Shakespeare Theatre’s ‘Photonegative’ Othello and the Body of Desdemona DENISE ALBANESE 190 9. 220 Further Reading Notes on Contributors Index 250 259 261 1 ‘Let it be Hid’: The Pornographic Aesthetic of Shakespeare’s Othello LYNDA E. BOOSE Utter my thoughts? Why, say they are vile and false: As where’s that palace, whereinto foul things Sometimes intrude not? who has a breast so pure, But some uncleanly apprehensions Keep leets and law-days, and in session sit With meditations lawful? (Othello 3.3.140–5)1 The final act of Othello visually confronts its audience with what is arguably the most unforgettable stage tableau in all of Shakespeare. Before the forces of institutional morality burst in and feebly attempt to assert control over the chaos of the bedroom, the audience has been led into the forbidden space of this hitherto offstage room – the imagined chamber towards which the play has always pointed, the place which it has repeatedly eroticized, and the space which until now it has kept discreetly hidden, blocked from audience view behind one of a number of

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