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English Literature


John Webster, Duchess of Malfi, USM


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.


DOI 10.14277/2420-823X/9p

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.