The early modern corpse and Shakespeare's theatre

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Edinburgh University Press, 2005 - Literary Criticism - 214 pages
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Within a theoretical framework that makes use of history, psychoanalysis, and anthropology, The Early Modern Corpse and Shakespeare's Theatreexplores the relationship of the public theatre to the question of what constituted the "dead" in early modern English culture.Zimmerman argues that notions of the corpse as a semi-animate, generative, and indeterminate entity were deeply rooted in medieval popular customs and funerary rituals. These concepts ran counter to important early modern discourses that sought to harden categorical distinctions between body/spirit and animate/inanimate. The indeterminate corpse thus complicated Reformists' attacks on the "deadness" of material idols (which were likened to corpses), as well as the new anatomy's rationale for publicly dissecting "dead" bodies. Zimmerman contends that the theatre's relationship to these controversies was especially problematic because of the permeable borders of its own performance conventions (actor/fictional figure, disguise/identity, and male/female).

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Contents

The Corpse as Idol
24
The Corpse as Idol in The Second Maidens
90
Shadow Lives in The Revengers Tragedy
128
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Susan Zimmerman is Associate Professor of English at Queens College, City University of New York. She is Editor of "Shakespeare Studies" and author of numerous articles of textual and literary criticism. She has also edited several collections, including "Shakespeare's Tragedies," and "Erotic Politics: Desire on the Renaissance Stage,

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