n Shakespeare in Southern Africa - Male Friendship in Shakespeare and his Contemporaries, Tom MacFaul : book review

Volume 20, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-582X



In a post-feminist age of gender equality, we tend to conflate the functions of 'soul-mate' and romantic life-partner (regardless of sexual orientation) into the same person : one's spouse / partner is ideally one's best friend. Consequently the intimacy of male friendship, witnessed so often in Shakespeare and elsewhere in the writings of Renaissance Humanism, often surprises us. Our first assumption is usually that there is something homosexual going on, whereas (so MacFaul asserts) there usually is not. Rather we should understand male intimacy in Humanist literature as homoerotic rather than homosexual.

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