Cover

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Title page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

THIS WORK HAS DEVELOPED over a far greater period of time, and through many more drafts and canceled pages, than its present length might suggest. That is my own fault, and it is doubly great given the variety and distinction of the help I have received while writing.
Of the many people who have worked with me, I owe the greatest debt to two: to Maureen Quilligan, without whom I never could have started this project; and to David Lee Miller, without whom I never could...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-18

In 1534, Henry VIII's Reformation Parliament ratified a bill called An Act Concerning the King's Succession, and it became law that year. It was a landmark piece of legislation, being the first (and by no means the last) of Henry's attempts to sequence his heirs by statute, and its principal jobs were thus to legitimize Henry's recent marriage to Anne Boleyn and to place their offspring foremost in the line of succession to the English...

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1. Henry VIII and the Political Uses of Incest Theory

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pp. 19-41

In 1527, marital and sexual activity in England was largely regulated by the ecclesiastical courts. At least since the ninth century, medieval popes had insisted that such matters "directly affect the salvation and faith of the Christian people" (Ullmann 205) and should thus be ultimately subject to papal adjudication. For practical purposes, it was therefore nominally up to the church courts to decide what comprised a sexual offense or an unsound...

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2. Incest and Tudor Literary Politics

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pp. 42-85

If Henry's divorce literature tends to trick the reader into mistaking provisional discursive maneuvering for fixed and universal doctrine, the major contemporary theories of incest may well do the same thing. That, at least, is how Pierre Bourdieu views matters in his Outline of a Theory of Practice (1977). Writing in response to Levi-Strauss's model of incest, Bourdieu asserts the fundamental deficiency of any social theory based solely upon rules....

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3. James I and the Fabrication of Kinship

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pp. 86-112

In his Development of the Family and Marriage in Europe (1983), Jack Goody traces the growth of European incest prohibitions like those involved in the Henrician divorce, and in the process, he makes a startling observation: as the medieval church extended its restrictions upon marriage with kin, it also began to proscribe various related practices, such as adoption, concubinage, and plural marriage (94-95). These institutions,...

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4. The End of Kingship?

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pp. 113-137

I began this study by asking two simple questions: what is incest and how do we recognize it? Unfortunately, despite the authority with which various scholars have explored these questions, I can only supply a series of limited and conditional answers. But for John Milton, defending the execution of King Charles I, the answers are easy: incest is an inevitable consequence of monarchy, which by its nature entails the overrating of one's...

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5. Conclusions: The Politics of Incest Theory

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pp. 138-156

To this point, I have discussed the immediate forms taken by the problem of incest within Renaissance English society, particularly as those forms involve the interrelation of literature and royal politics. Now it remains to connect those issues to the larger theoretical matters that subtend this discussion. In order to do this, I will return to the schematic survey of incest theories with which this study began, and I will recall that each of...

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Afterword

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pp. 157-158

IN HIS ESSAY "Reflections on Gandhi," George Orwell criticizes the inhumanity of Gandhi's asceticism, a discipline that required the complete elimination of "close friendships and exclusive loves" (Orwell 331). To Orwell, such behavior is "a thing that human beings must avoid" (Orwell 332), for "to an ordinary human being, love means nothing if it does not mean loving some people more than others" (Orwell 331). That is, Orwell...

Notes

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pp. 159-172

Bibliography

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pp. 173-184

Index

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pp. 185-189