The significance of human anatomy to the most physical of art forms, the theatre, has hitherto been an under-explored topic. Filling this gap, Christian Billing questions conventional wisdom regarding the one-sex anatomical model and uses a range of medical treatises to delineate an emergent two-sex paradigm of human biology. The impact such a model had on the staging of the human form in English professional theatre is also explored in appraisals of: the homo-erotic significance of a two-sex paradigm; social and theatrical cross-dressing; the uses of theatrical androgyny; masculine corporality and the representation of assertive women; and the theatrical poetics of human dissection. Billing supports cultural and scientific study with close-readings of Lyly, Shakespeare, Jonson, Middleton, Dekker, Beaumont, Fletcher, and Ford. The book provides a sophisticated and original analysis of the early modern stage body as a discursive site in wider debates concerning sexuality and gender.
Billing, C. (2008). Masculinity, corporality, and the English stage, 1580-1635. Taylor & Francis (Routledge)