All-College Writing Contest


All-College Writing Contest Winner 2006-07

Document Type


Date of Award

Fall 2006

Author Comments

Sexuality as we know it today was invented in the nineteenth century, when the new fields of sexology and psychoanalysis developed the hetero/homosexual model currently dominant in Euro-American society. This is, of course, not to say that humans were not sexual beings before the Victorian era, but that the experience of sexuality was vastly different—and more fluid—than it is now. Typically, sexuality was considered a set of behaviors rather than a form of social identity, and the most condemned sexual behavior was sodomy, which was punishable by death. For people who felt compelled to this particular act, then, much was at stake; they needed somehow to re-conceive sodomy to maintain a coherent sense of self and defend themselves against persecution. This paper, written for Professor Richard Mallette’s and Professor David Spadafora’s class Tudor & Stuart England, examines how Shakespeare performed such re-conception in his Sonnets.

Faculty Advisor

Richard Mallette and David Spadafora



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