Moth and the Pedagogical Ideal in Love’s Labor’s Lost

  • M. Tyler Sasser


This chapter demonstrates how reading Moth as a queer schoolboy in Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor’s Lost forces audiences to reflect on the gendered ideal early modern schooling was expected to produce, and then compare it to the masculinity actually performed by the adult male characters in the play. While critics have long studied this comedy’s investment in wit, wordplay, and rhetoric as a satirical attempt to outwit the University Wits, Moth is as routinely left out of those discussions as he is cut from performances. Moth, imbued with this tradition, uses his wit to queer the humanist pedagogical ideal by exposing how it is in language’s queer flexibility that true wit resides.



I would like to acknowledge and express gratitude to Jameela Lares, who first provided me feedback on this project; to Mark Johnston and Jennifer Higginbotham for extremely generous and detailed direction, and also for organizing an SAA seminar devoted to queering early modern childhood; and finally to the English Department and Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies at the University of Alabama for providing the funds for me to travel to the 2016 SAA. I would like to express additional gratitude to Mark Johnston, who was especially instrumental in the improvement of this chapter throughout the revision process. Much of the success of this essay is the result of his thoughtful, critical, and continuous feedback, and I am grateful for such care and precision.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Tyler Sasser
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA

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