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Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine

Humoral Wombs on the Shakespearean Stage

Authors: Kenny, Amy

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  • Examines medical treatises, domestic manuals, and diaries to establish normative early modern ideology about the womb  
  • Engages with semiotics to consider how the visual medium of the theatre appraised an inaccessible, interior space 
  • Demonstrates how Shakespeare challenges contemporary notions of female volatility, inconstancy, and undependability by accentuating the significance of the womb as a source of self-defiance and agency for female characters across his canon 
  • Explores early modern medicine’s attempt to theorize and interpret the womb, specifically its role in disease, excretion, and conception
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eBook 59,49 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-05201-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover 72,79 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-05200-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
  • The final prices may differ from the prices shown due to specifics of VAT rules
About this book

This book explores how the humoral womb was evoked, enacted, and embodied on the Shakespearean stage by considering the intersection of performance studies and humoral theory.  Galenic naturalism applied the four humors—yellow bile, black bile, phlegm, and blood—to delineate women as porous, polluting, and susceptible to their environment.  This book draws on early modern medical texts to provocatively demonstrate how Shakespeare’s canon offers a unique agency to female characters via humoral discourse of the womb.  Chapters discuss early modern medicine’s attempt to theorize and interpret the womb, specifically its role in disease, excretion, and conception, alongside passages of Shakespeare’s plays to offer a fresh reading of (geo)humoral subjectivity.  The book shows how Shakespeare subversively challenges contemporary notions of female fluidity by accentuating the significance of the womb as a source of self-defiance and autonomy for female characters across his canon.  

About the authors

Amy Kenny is Visiting Assistant Professor at University of California, Riverside, USA. She holds a PhD in Early Modern Literature and Culture from the University of Sussex and has worked as Research Coordinator at Shakespeare’s Globe, where she was chief dramaturg for 15 productions and conducted over 80 interviews with actors and directors as part of an archival resource for future scholarship.  She has published on dramaturgy, performance of laughter, the senses, and disease in Shakespeare. 

Reviews

“A diligent, thoroughly researched, learned, and clearly argued discussion of the womb as a multivalent, multi-faceted trope in Shakespeare’s plays. It is clearly and nicely focused. Kenny’s manuscript adds substantially to the current scholarship on the history of the body, especially the history of the leaky early modern female body.” (Gail Paster, Director Emerita at the Folger Shakespeare Library and Editor of Shakespeare Quarterly, USA)

 

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook 59,49 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-05201-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover 72,79 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-05200-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
  • The final prices may differ from the prices shown due to specifics of VAT rules
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Humoral Wombs on the Shakespearean Stage
Authors
Series Title
Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine
Copyright
2019
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-05201-0
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-05201-0
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-05200-3
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XI, 202
Number of Illustrations
5 b/w illustrations
Topics