To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
By the Caroline era, London’s broader theatergoing public contained within it the smaller subset of a theatrical community – those playgoers collectively invested in the cultivation of their dramatic knowledge and interpretive acuity. Chapter 4 offers a phenomenological prehistory of this community, locating its activation in the moment of performance itself. The chapter traces the formation of this theatrical community alongside the dramatic trope of impersonation, which constructed the unknown depths and vicissitudes of individual identity as a function of the bifurcated structure of the playhouse. Through readings of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and The Comedy of Errors, the anonymous Look About You, John Fletcher’s Love’s Cure, and Dekker and Middleton’s The Roaring Girl, this chapter argues that the formation of spatially relational identities in impersonation plots extended from the stage to the amphitheater: constituted as a series of mirror images only partially revealed, London’s theatrical community was produced by spectators’ mutual recognition of their uncertainty about one another.
This chapter critically examines two long-held beliefs with regards to Thecla, the first Christian heroine to take on male dress: 1) that she is the forerunner of Byzantine transvestite saints and 2) that her tale is a reference point for their narratives (fourth to seventh centuries). Arguably, these claims are usually based on hasty assumptions or insufficient evidence built on one particular transvestite saint’s Life, the Life and Martyrdom of Eugenia. In this chapter, I discuss Thecla’s literary legacy both in the wider tradition of Greek hagiography and specific cross-dressers’ Lives. I demonstrate that the Life of Eugenia is an exception among cross-dressers’ tales in terms of its frequent referencing and evident modeling of the APT. This point is especially salient considering the APT’s many echoes in certain Greek hagiographies that are not concerned with cross-dressers. Finally, I propose some new perspectives on how the motif of cross-dressing traveled from the APT until it appeared in later hagiographical accounts. I argue that the Acts of Xanthippe and Polyxena, Life and Miracles of Thecla, and Life of Eusebia called Xenê represent important intermediary steps both in the interpretation of Thecla as a cross-dresser and in the development of this literary theme.
Chapter 6 continues to upend the limiting Greek–foreigner binary model. Heliodorus’s novel Aithiopika (c. fourth century CE) traces the peripatetic journey of Charicleia, an Aithiopian princess exposed at birth because of the dissonance between her white skin and her parents’ black skin. During Charicleia’s travels, skin color remains a volatile element: she exploits it as a disguise (Heliod. Aeth. 6.11.3–4), her companion Theagenes uses skin color as a marker of trustworthiness (7.7.6–7), and a prophecy destabilizes both perspectives (2.35.5). Throughout the novel, Heliodorus wields skin color as a negotiable ethnographic tool that does not necessarily correspond to identity. This flexibility underscores Charicleia’s own fluidity between several performative categories. She can be a beggar and a princess, a docile woman and the leader of her entourage, the daughter of a Greek man and an Aithiopian man. Readers are forced to be patient as Heliodorus masterfully manipulates time to create a gap between what his characters know and what his readers have already grasped.
Questions of authority, legitimacy, and meaning emerge in Cavell’s essay on King Lear, “The Avoidance of Love,” with reference to “Music Discomposed” and “A Matter of Meaning It.” Shakespeare raises these themes in peculiarly poignant ways, exposing them through testing the resources of theatre itself. Early in Must We Mean What We Say? Cavell is pondering problems of theatricalization, where they are related to the “all but unappeasable craving for unreality.” This puts into question the nature of the everyday and the ordinary, and the human tendency to drift into a state of “exile from our words.”
The sub-plot amplifies the questions of legitimacy and succession, democratizing these through its focus on bastardy and baseness. The problems of inheritance raised in Cavell’s discussion reverberate through ordinary language philosophy and through political settlements in the modern world. With some acknowledgment of the manner of Cavell’s participation in the “drama of the nation’s conscience,” in Ralph Ellison’s phrase, around the time he was writing the essays in this volume, the essay assesses Cavell’s contribution to the nation’s “painfully slow advance toward true equality” (again, Ellison).
Commedia dell’arte was the most influential and widespread theatre movement in sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Europe. A considerable part of its popularity can be accounted for by its comic representations of stressful occurrences within everyday life in early modern Europe, including its representations of the period’s widespread dissimulation. Among other things, the theatricality of commedia dell’arte provided a way for the audience briefly to dissociate itself from and to fantasize about ways of coping with dissimulation. A number of characteristics of commedia dell’arte, including disguise, lying,tricks, spying and gossip, and portrayals of honour, previously seen as separate, cohere in the concept of dissimulation. Natalie Crohn Schmitt is Professor of Theatre and of English, Emerita, University of Illinois at Chicago. She recently published Befriending the Commedia dell’Arte of Flaminio Scala: the Comic Scenarios (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014). In New Theatre Quarterly she has published ‘Stanislavski, Creativity, and the Unconscious’ (Vol. II, No. 8); ‘Theorizing about Performance: Why Now’ (Vol. VI, No. 23);‘ “So Many Things Can Go Together”: the Theatricality of John Cage’ (Vol. XI, No. 41); and ‘The Style of Commedia dell’Arte Acting’ (Vol. XXVIII, No. 4).
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.