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Masculinity, corporality and the English stage 1580–1635

Billing, Christian M.



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: (i) the homo-erotic significance of a two-sex paradigm; (ii) social and theatrical cross-dressing; (iii) the uses of theatrical androgyny; (iv) masculine corporality and the representation of assertive women; and (v) 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. M. (2008). Masculinity, corporality and the English stage 1580–1635. London: Routledge.

Book Type Book
Online Publication Date Sep 17, 2016
Publication Date Nov 28, 2008
Deposit Date Dec 19, 2014
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Pages 1-238
Book Title Masculinity, Corporality and the English Stage 1580-1635
ISBN 9780754656517; 9781138376021
Public URL
Publisher URL