About this item

A provocative, moving, kinky, and often absurdly funny memoir about Shakespeare, love, obsession, and spanking

When it came to understanding love, a teenage Jillian Keenan had nothing to guide her - until a production of The Tempest sent Shakespeare's language flowing through her blood for the first time. In Sex with Shakespeare, she tells the story of how the Bard's plays helped her embrace her unusual sexual identity and find a love story of her own.

Four hundred years after Shakespeare's death, Keenan's smart and passionate memoir brings new life to his work. With fourteen of his plays as a springboard, she explores the many facets of love and sexuality - from desire and communication to fetish and fantasy. In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Keenan unmasks Helena as a sexual masochist - like Jillian herself. In Macbeth, she examines criminalized sexual identities and the dark side of "privacy." The Taming of the Shrew goes inside the secret world of bondage, domination, and sadomasochism, while King Lear exposes the ill-fated king as a possible sexual predator. Moving through the canon, Keenan makes it abundantly clear that literature is a conversation. In Sex with Shakespeare, words are love.

As Keenan wanders the world in search of connection, from desert dictatorships to urban islands to disputed territories, Shakespeare goes with her - and provokes complex, surprising, and wildly important conversations about sexuality, consent, and the secrets that simmer beneath our surfaces.

About the Author

Jillian Keenan

I'm a freelance writer based in New York. I've written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, Washington Post, Slate, Foreign Policy, American Prospect, Marie Claire, The Atlantic, National Geographic News, Daily Beast, Al Jazeera America, Scientific American, Pacific Standard, Playboy, Los Angeles Review of Books and elsewhere. My work has been discussed by The Wall Street Journal, New Republic, New York Magazine, Paris Review, Al Jazeera English, BBC World Service, Jezebel, The Toast, Quartz, LitHub, New York Daily News, Huffington Post Live, Vox, Vice, The Week, Telemundo and more.

As a foreign correspondent, I've reported from Somalia, Kazakhstan, Niger, the Philippines, Burundi, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Madagascar, and Cuba. My photography has been published in The Washington Post and Foreign Policy. Marion Ettlinger took my avatar photo.

My first book, SEX WITH SHAKESPEARE, was released by William Morrow/HarperCollins in 2016.


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