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Webster's Geometry; or, The Irreducible Duchess
English Literature [Inglese Literature] (2014)
  • Benjamin Bertram, University of Southern Maine
This study of geometry, gender, and skepticism in John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi argues that the play leaves us in a hall of mirrors, a horror show of optical tricks, delusion, narcissism, and perspectivism from which there seems to be no escape, no masterpiece of God’s creation upholding reality beyond sensory images. In the absence of a transcendental referent, the Duchess’ willful and fearful journey «into the wilderness» – the life she leads as a result of her furtive marriage to her steward Antonio – becomes an alternative to both the public sphere mapped by divine patterns of order and – on the other extreme – the nihilistic, private court culture mapped by the ‘mad’ geometry of her brothers and their henchman Bosola.
  • John Webster,
  • Duchess of Malfi,
  • Plays - criticism
Publication Date
December, 2014
Publisher Statement
Inglese Literature is the magazine founded by the National Association of Teachers of English (ANDA). The aim of the journal is to provide a space for reflection on issues, problems, and specificity of English literature and literature in English. DOI10.14277/2420-823X/9p
Citation Information
Benjamin Bertram. "Webster's Geometry; or, The Irreducible Duchess" English Literature [Inglese Literature] Vol. 1 Iss. 1 (2014)
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