Happiness Against All Odds

Incestuous Desires in John Ford's ’Tis Pity She's a Whore

in Critical Survey
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  • 1 University of Paderborn, Germany cehland@mail.uni-paderborn.de
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Abstract

John Ford's play ’Tis Pity She's a Whore offers a compelling rendering of the state of happiness. Its scandalous plot, which revolves around the incestuous relationship between the two siblings Giovanni and Annabella, confronts the audience with an intricate discussion of early modern notions of happiness. Situated in the ambiguous sphere between a secular and a theological reading of what it means to be happy, Ford's play stages the conflicts and the calamities that derive from its protagonists’ eager attempt to attain and to live their own version of happiness.

Contributor Notes

Christoph Ehland is Professor of English Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Paderborn in Germany. He has published on Scottish writing of the interwar period with a particular interest in the literary work of Lewis Grassic Gibbon and John Buchan. Another area of his research focuses on the intersection between writers’ lives, cultural memory and literature. In addition, he has worked on cultural conceptions of space and mobility from the early modern period to the present. In this context he has edited Perspectives of Mobility (Rodopi 2013) and Mobility in English and American Literature and Culture, 1500–1900 (Narr 2012). He is also the author of Picaresque Perspectives: Exiled Identities (Winter 2003) and editor of the book series Spatial Practices (Brill). E-mail: cehland@mail.uni-paderborn.de

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