Sex with Shakespeare: Here’s Much to Do with Pain, but More with Love
“Where was this book when I was in high school/college/Shakespeare class?” is what Jillian Keenan’s book Sex With Shakespeare will have readers wondering. In a brilliant narrative structure, Keenan interacts with the plays in her memoir, explaining her fetish and her life, as well as the inner workings of the plays. It becomes impossible to see Helena and Demetrius’ relationship as anything other than D/s, for example, with Helena chasing Demetrius through the woods, begging him to beat her, just as it becomes impossible to see Keenan’s childhood without Caliban. One works to enhance the other.
Keenan’s experience as a sexual fetishist and Shakespeare scholar brings a wonderfully unique perspective to a well-studied and analyzed field. She sheds new insights on old ideas and brings the plays off the page and back into the gut, the breastbone, the body, where they belong. Her study of the Bard and his work is partly literary, partly autobiographical, and electrically sexual. This is the Shakespeare book that combines the kinky and the perverse with the elevated language and complex social nuance, revealing new levels of humanity, complexity, and—above all—love. Keenan will change the way you look at Shakespeare forever.