MONDAY, October 23rd, Jenny Birkett, “Shakespeare’s Possessive Pet Names”

Please join the Renaissance Workshop

Monday, October 23rd, when

Jenny Birkett

Postdoctoral Fellow with Shakespeare, University of Notre Dame
presents the paper

“Shakespeare’s Possessive Pet Names”
MONDAY, October 23rd


Rosenwald 301
*please note the different room*

The paper, to be read in advance, has been distributed to the Renaissance Workshop mailing list and is available on our website under the password “endearment.” Light refreshments will be served.


In this paper, I contest the claim that Shakespeare’s most used form of endearment is animal terminology (such as duck), by highlighting that the most common affectionate vocative construction in Shakespeare’s plays is actually the combination of a genitive possessive (such as my, thy, your, our) with either a proper name (such as “my Hermia”), a title (such as “my lord”), or an endearing term (such as “my love”, or “my sweet”). Using A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a case study, I analyze the ways in which possessive endearments enact early modern marriage by portraying a relationship tangled in issues of dominance, submission, and mutual affection. This paper acts as the first of five chapters in my current book project on terms of endearment in early modern drama.

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