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Shakespeare's body language : shaming gestures and gender politics on the Renaissance stage

Author: Miranda Fay Thomas
Publisher: London : The Arden Shakespeare, 2020.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Why do the Capulets bite their thumbs at the Montagues? Why do the Venetians spit upon Shylock's Jewish gaberdine? What is it about Volumnia's act of kneeling that convinces Coriolanus not to assault the city of Rome?Shakespeare's Body Language is a ground-breaking new study of Shakespearean drama, revealing the previously unseen history of social tensions found within the performance of gestures - and how such  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
Named Person: William Shakespeare; William Shakespeare
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Miranda Fay Thomas
ISBN: 9781350035478 1350035475
OCLC Number: 1120197759
Description: xiii, 252 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm
Contents: Introduction: Embodying shame --
1. Thumb-biting : performing toxic masculinity in Romeo and Juliet --
2. Figging : Spanish anxieties and ancient grudges in Pistol's Henriad --
3. Spitting at Richard : taming the beast in Richard III --
4. Spitting at Shylock : shameful conversion in The merchant of Venice --
5. Horning : fragile masculinity in Othello --
6. Hand-washing : feminine shame in Macbeth --
7. Kneeling : passive aggression in Coriolanus --
8. Stillness : female constancy in The winter's tale --
Epilogue.
Responsibility: Miranda Fay Thomas.

Abstract:

Why do the Capulets bite their thumbs at the Montagues? Why do the Venetians spit upon Shylock's Jewish gaberdine? What is it about Volumnia's act of kneeling that convinces Coriolanus not to assault the city of Rome?Shakespeare's Body Language is a ground-breaking new study of Shakespearean drama, revealing the previously unseen history of social tensions found within the performance of gestures - and how such gestures are used to shame those within the body politic of early modern England. The first full study of shaming gestures in Shakespearean drama, this book establishes how shame is often rooted in the gendered expectations of the Renaissance era. Exploring how the performance of gestures such as figging, the cuckold's horns, and even the in-action of stillness created shaming spectacles on the early modern stage and its wider society, Shakespeare's Body Language argues that gestures are embodied social metaphors which epitomise the personal as political. It reveals the tensions of everyday life as key motivators behind the actions of Shakespeare's characters, and considers how honour and its opposite, shame, are constructed in terms of gender norms.Featuring in-depth analyses of plays across Shakespeare's career, this book explores how the playwright's understanding of shame and humiliation is rooted in performance anxiety and gender politics, explaining how theatrical gestures can create dramatic tension in a way that words alone cannot. It offers both rich insights into the early modern context of Shakespeare's drama and confirms the startling relevance of his work to modern audiences.

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In eight detailed chapters ... Thomas offers proliferating possibilities for interpreting key scenes and speeches - a fitting strategy for a work on fleeting gestures and the tricky business of Read more...

 
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