ABSTRACT

What is the nature of the links between the forms of language and desire, melancholy, seduction, suffering, ecstasy? How might one conceptualize the relations between performativity and the poetic voice, and what have those to do with authority and authorization? What is at stake in the human practice of the complaint and in what ways is it related to the act of confession? Such questions are at the forefront of contemporary discussions in the fields of literary criticism, literary theory, philosophy, psychoanalysis. And yet these questions have an ancient legacy, one of whose peaks is in Renaissance England. As the essays in this volume demonstrate, these questions inform the most neglected of Shakespeare's texts: A Lover's Complaint, originally published by Thomas Thorpe in 1609 in the same volume as the Sonnets.