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Fashioning anatomies : figurations of the sexed and gendered body on the early modern English stage

By Christian M. Billing

Abstract

This dissertation is an investigation into the representation of the sexed and gendered body\ud on the English stage between the years 1570 and 1635. The parameters of the study are\ud fully set out in the introduction, however, a summary that might prove useful to the general\ud reader is as follows:\ud The thesis commences with an account of the 'one-sex' anatomical model - as recently set out\ud by Thomas Laqueur in Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (Cambridge.\ud Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1990). It then proceeds to question the dominance of such an\ud anatomical paradigm throughout the entire Renaissance - and, in its first chapter, sets out\ud evidence from various medical treatises in order to outline the emergence of a contrasting 'two-sex'\ud model of human reproductive biology.\ud Chapter two then uses evidence from a 'two-sex' model in order to re-examine the homo-erotic\ud implications of theatrical narratives that present (or imply) spontaneous sex changes (by means\ud of an analysis of John Lyly's Gallathea and Shakespeare's Falstaff plays). In chapter three,\ud attention turns to the female body in early modern English society and attempts to assess the\ud implications of an emergent 'two-sex' model on female cultural and social agency in the period\ud (by means of an analysis of actual female-to-male cross-dressers and the anatomical\ud representations of the female body that were undertaken in elite cultural forms such as the Court\ud Masque). Chapter four then turns back to the professional English transvestite stage in order to\ud examine the strategies of recuperation of the female body that were employed in a production\ud environment that was exclusively controlled by men (and this is undertaken by means of an\ud analysis of Middleton and Dekker's The Roaring Girl and Beaumont and Fletcher's The Maid's\ud Tradedy).\ud Chapter five turns its attention to an analysis of theatre and anatomy hall architecture in order to\ud examine the ways in which one exclusive private theatre (Christopher Beeston's Phoenix, in\ud Drury Lane) sought to exploit an architectural accident in order to provide elite audiences with a\ud staged representation of the processes of anatomical dissection. Finally, chapter six examines\ud four plays by John Ford: The Witch of Edmonton, The Broken Heart, Love's Sacrifice and 'Tis\ud Pity She's A Whore in order to examine the anatomical emblazonment of the female body in two\ud specific Private theatres.\ud The dissertation also contains four appendices:\ud I) Selections from the Published Debate Between Jean Riolan and\ud Jacques Duval Concerning the Case of Marie Le Marcis, the\ud Hermaphrodite of Rouen\ud II) The List of Sex Changes from Johann Schenck von Graffenberg's\ud Observationum Medicarum Rarum (Frankfurt, 1600)\ud III) Selections From Thomas Artus' L'Isle des Hermaphrodites\ud IV) Selections From The Boke of Duke Huon ofBurdeux, translated by Sir\ud John Bourchier (Lord Berners] (Wynkyn de Worde, 1534)\ud V) Anthony Wood, Athena Oxonienses. An Exact history of all the Writers and Bishops who have had their Education in the most Ancient and\ud Famous University ofOxford(a Biography of William Petty

Topics: PN2000, QM
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:4384

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Citations

  1. (1994). You I Give Myself, For I Am Yours' Erotic Performance and Theatrical Performatives In As You Like It', in Shakespeare Reread, edited by Russ Macdonald (Ithaca:

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