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Why was England the only country in Europe to maintain an all-male public theatre in the Renaissance? Stephen Orgel uses this question as the starting point of a fresh and stimulating exploration of the representation of gender in Elizabethan drama and society. Why were boys used to play female roles in drama, and how did such cross-dressing impact on the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries? What was the place of women in the Renaissance theatre, either on the stage or in the audience? And what did society make of those women who significantly and successfully violated accepted gender boundaries? At once provocative and witty, lucid and stylish, Impersonations will reshape our understanding of the Renaissance theatre, and make us rethink our own inadequate categories of gender, power and sexuality.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780521568425
ISBN-10: 0521568420
Format: Paperback
(216mm x 138mm x 11mm)
Pages: 196
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publish Date: 29-Feb-1996
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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