Cosmetics in Shakespearean and Renaissance Drama

Front Cover
Edinburgh University Press, 2006 - Drama - 221 pages

"Provides a fascinating perspective on how early modern culture dealt with the growth and transformation of cosmetics into an 'industry' and offers exciting insight into how cosmetic textual imagery might have been interpreted in stage performance."

Tom Healy, University of Sussex

"Karim-Cooper's rich and suggestive interpretations of the plays that she takes in hand convincingly demonstrate the relevance of the period's cosmetic culture to theater and performance, and make this book required reading for critics and students of the Elizabethan and Jacobean stage."

Comparative Drama

This original study examines how the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries dramatise the cultural preoccupation with cosmetics. Farah Karim-Cooper analyses contemporary tracts that address the then-contentious issue of cosmetic practice and identifies a 'culture of cosmetics', which finds its visual identity on the Renaissance stage. She also examines cosmetic recipes and their relationship to drama as well as to the construction of early modern identities.

Key Features

  • The only in-depth study of cosmetic culture and its visual representation on the Renaissance stage
  • Provides original views of Shakespearean and Renaissance drama by examining its preoccupation with cosmetic ingredients, metaphors and the staging of painted beauty
  • Offers insight into Renaissance women's cosmetic practice by uncovering a wide range of ingredients, methods and materials used in the construction of cosmetics
  • Includes numerous cosmetic recipes found in early modern printed books, never before published in a modern edition

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About the author (2006)

Farah Karim-Cooper is Globe Education Lecturer at the Shakespeare's Globe

Bibliographic information