Thursday, November 21, 2013

Guest Post: From the Bawdy to the Queer - "Shakespearotica" by Salome Wilde

If you studied Shakespeare with a good teacher or acted in any of his comedies, I don't have to tell you the Bard is bawdy. There is sex throughout his plays, both comic and tragic, and his often biting erotic wit is by no means out of date. Disdainful shepherdess Phoebe in As You Like It, for example, rejects her suitor with a familiar size joke, simply telling him he lacks "the measure for pleasure." Even in the hideous tragedy that is Titus Andronicus, we find a darkly potent "yo mama" crack. When Chiron complains, "Thou has undone our mother," Aaron retorts, "Villain, I have done thy mother."

Even so, diving in and making Shakespeare's work into overt erotica takes a devoted and creative mind and pen. When I decided to make my first adventure in erotic anthology editing focused on the Bard, I knew I was taking on a rich and exciting project. For those writers who love Shakespeare, it would be easy enough to envision what happens between the scenes of a favorite play or after the curtain closes. When lovers come together after misunderstandings or if tragedies could be averted, what glorious sex scenes we might find between Romeo and Juliet, Titania and Oberon, Othello and Desdemona, and Beatrice and Benedict.

But even as I envisioned these delicious pairings, I recognized the limitations in such a project for me. If Shakespeare is bawdy, he is also invested in challenging the boundaries of gender and sex. Consider his crossdressed female characters, his fairy magic, and the deep friendships between men.

With this in mind, my call for submissions for the volume requested a heightening of the suggestiveness of Shakespeare's investment in all things queer. I sought gay, lesbian, and/or bisexual pairings and grouping as well as gender-transgressive and/or trans characters. Writers could recast and rewrite familiar plays or focus on contemporary productions. And historical stories were as welcome as fantastic speculations.

What I received exceeded my imaginings, and the editing work was a labor of love and lust from start to finish. Penelope Addams' "For Love or Duty" fulfills my fondest gay Othello/Iago fantasies, and Louisa Bacio's "All Pucked Up" mixes and matches the lovers of A Midsummer Night's Dream to rouse the greedy bisexual in me. Anna Black's "By Any Other Name" takes us back to Shakespeare's London and the pretty boys who became the stage's pretty women, and Tilly Hunter's "As We Like It" blends science fiction and trans desires to create a sensitive and titillating otherworldly romance. Other stories shift focus to the present day, telling of lesbian, gay, and crossdressed actors in contemporary performances to which we are invited to peek at the intimate interactions going on backstage.

I love the blend of ten uniquely erotic and engaging tales you'll find in Shakespearotica: Queering the Bard because I love Shakespeare, I love erotica, and I love queerness. My experience in editing allowed me to bring these three loves together to reach far beyond my own imagination and right into my heart... and places slightly lower. I am confident the collection will offer something for every fan of erotica and romance, whether you're a literary devotee or just Bard curious.

Shakespearotica: Queering the Bard is now available in eBook ($4.99) and print ($9.99) versions through the Storm Moon Press site!

Salome Wilde (@SalomeWilde on Twitter) is the author of pansexual erotica and romance in genres from contemporary to historical and from Southern Gothic to hardboiled detective. She loves hurt-comfort and naughty humor in equal measure, as long as she gets her HEA. She is thrilled to be a writer for Storm Moon Press, with whom she has published the first of a three-novella series as well as her irst edited anthology, Shakespearotica: Queering the Bard.

1 comment:

Go ahead and talk to me!