‘The Lure Of A Taffeta Cloak’: Middleton's Sartorial Seduction in <i>Your Five Gallants</i>

Mary Bly

in The Oxford Handbook of Thomas Middleton

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199559886
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

‘The Lure Of A Taffeta Cloak’: Middleton's Sartorial Seduction in Your Five Gallants

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This article explores Middleton's Your Five Gallants. Your Five Gallants is manifestly a post-sumptuary law play, one obsessed with the effect and pleasure of wearing sumptuous clothing – but also with the difficulty of recognizing degree. It is torn between a depiction of the delights of sartorial splendour and acknowledgement that there is little besides the hidden quality of ‘blood’ which divides a husbandman from a nobleman. This is why the play opens with Frippery rather than Katherine. Most romantic comedies track illicit love affairs, but the focus here is on newly licit objects of desire, and its erotically invested encounters are not between women and men, but between bodies and fabric.

Keywords: Thomas Middleton; plays; luxury clothing

Article.  9000 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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