Men in Women's Clothing

Men in Women's Clothing : Anti-theatricality and Effeminization, 1579-1642

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In 1597 anti-theatricalist Stephen Gosson made the curious remark that theatre 'effeminized' the mind. Four years later Phillip Stubbes claimed that male actors who wore women's clothing could literally 'adulterate' male gender and fifty years after this in a tract which may have hastened the closing of the theatres, William Prynne described a man whom women's clothing had literally caused to 'degenerate' into a women. How can we account for such fears of effeminization and what did Renaissance playwrights do with such a legacy? Laura Levine examines the ways in which Shakespeare, Marlowe and Jonson addressed a generation's anxieties about gender and the stage and identifies the way the same 'magical thinking' informed documents we much more readily associate with extreme forms of cultural paranoia: documents dedicated to the extermination of witches.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 196 pages
  • 152 x 228 x 12mm | 289g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Worked examples or Exercises
  • 052146627X
  • 9780521466271
  • 1,698,760

Table of contents

1. Men in women's clothing; 2. Troilus and Cressida and the politics of rage; 3. 'Strange flesh': Antony and Cleopatra and the story of the dissolving warrior; 4. Theatre as other: Jonson's Epicoene; 5. The 'nothing' under the puppet's clothing: Jonson's suppression of Marlowe in Bartholomew Fair; 6. Magic as theatre, theatre as magic: daemonology and the problem of 'entresse'; 7. Magic as theatre, theatre as magic: the case of Newes from Scotland; Epilogue.
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Review quote

'... cleverly brings together three areas of Renaissance anxiety: the longing for truth, a suspicious attitude to representation, and an identification of masculinity as performance.' The Times Literary Supplement '... a work of critical brilliance.' New Theatre Quarterly
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