Gender and Medieval Drama

January 2006
168 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Gender in the Middle Ages
ISBN: 9781843840275
Format: Hardback
Library eBook

Gender and Medieval Drama

Katie Normington

An investigation of the public image of women as presented in contemporary drama.
The focus of this study is upon the Corpus Christi plays, supplemented by other performance practices such as festive and social entertainments, civic parades, funeral processions and public punishments. The main argument relates to the traditional approaches to women's non-performance in the Corpus Christi dramas, but other factors are considered and analysed, including the semiotics of the cross-dressed actor and the significance of the visual and spatial language of the processional stage to gender debates. In conclusion, there is a series of readings which reassess the dramatic portrayal of a selection of holy and vulgar women - the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, Mrs Noah and Dame Procula. The emphasis throughout the book is upon a performance-based analysis. Evidence from Records of Early English Drama, social, literary and cultural sources are drawn together in order to investigate how performances within the late Middle Ages were both shaped by, and shaped, the public image of women.

KATIE NORMINGTON is Lecturer in Drama, Royal Holloway, London.

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Expertly arranged and solidly researched [this is] an excellent introduction to and qualification of the study of gender in the mystery cycles. MEDIUM AEVUM
Presenting an extremely complex and controversial subject in a very readable fashion, this book will be welcome, whether or not one agrees with [the author]. Highly recommended. CHOICE
A worthy addition to university libraries, and it will be a must read for those medievalists exploring drama and the representation of gender. MEDIEVAL REVIEW

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