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Bad Blood, Black Desires: On the Fragility of Whiteness in Middleton and Rowley's The Changeling


  • Jamie Paris Corpus Christi College at UBC



This essay reads Thomas Middleton and William Rowley’s The Changeling (ca 1622) as a meditation on the fragility of white privilege. The anxieties about blood in the play are situated by how the English viewed Spain as the least white nation within Europe. The trope of blackness impacts the way others read Beatrice-Joanna’s sexual transgressions, ultimately questioning her chastity and challenging her privileges as a white woman. Rather than seeing whiteness as a stable identity category, I argue that the privileges of whiteness were particularly unstable for white women in the early modern period.