Body as Text in Shakespeare's Plays. The Fashioning of the Sexes

Author: Georgopoulou, Xenia
Year:2011
Pages:280
ISBN:0-7734-1602-1
978-0-7734-1602-4
Price:199.95
Examines the attempts of Shakespeare’s male characters to fashion female identity in a way that ensures their own self-definition.

Reviews

“…his presentation of relations between men and women are remarkable and continue to provoke critical interest. [The author’s] new study emphasizes from the beginning the centrality of this concern. Focusing on female roles, she insists that they cannot be confined within the categories and tropes designed to define and restrict their identities.”-Prof. John Jowett, University of Birmingham

“It is a work that betrays hard and consistent effort, commitment, and profound knowledge of both Shakespeare’s oeuvre and Shakespeare’s times. In addition, Xenia’s familiarity with contemporary theory, makes the reading of her work even more exciting, more original and more relevant to our times and concerns”-Prof. Savas Patsalidis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

“…her exhaustive research, her strong familiarity with the current Shakespearean scholarship and the freshness of her gendered reading, which adds a new original approach to the much written about Shakespearean canon.”-Prof. Elizabeth Sakellaridou, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Table of Contents

Foreword by Professor John Jowett

Acknowledgements

Chapter 1.
SEXUALITY AND TEXTUALITY: AN INTRODUCTION
Female Unruliness and Male Anxiety
Masculinity and Femininity: Seeming and being
Transvestism
Manly heroines and the Questioning of Manhood
The Male Utopia: A World Without Women
The Fashioning of Female Inferiority
The Defense of Women
The Female Body as Text
Women and Male Self-Definition
Critical Literature
Shakespeare’s Plays

Chapter 2.
THE FASHIONING OF THE FEMALE BODY: FLUIDITY AND THE HUMOURS

The Ominous Fluidity of the Female Body
Body Fluids and Female Lust
Female Fluids and Deceit
The Use of Food Imagery
The Influence of the Moon
Jealousy
The Fluidity of the Male Body: Between Choler and Melancholy
Melancholy as a Threat Against Masculinity
The Choleric Woman and Animal Imagery
Female Volubility and Independence

Chapter 3.
INTERSEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS: FEMALE BODY AND MALE SELF
Women and Marriage Politics
Women as Property
Fathers and Daughters
The Threat of Female Adultery
Reading the Body: Seeming and Being
Reading the Female body and Mind
The Slanderer’s Verbal Manoeuvres and the Need for Ocular Proof
Tangible Proof: Love Tokens
“Noting” Private Spaces and Body Parts
Misinterpreted Gestures
The Adulteress’s Appalling Body
Observing the Cuckold’s Body

Chapter 4.
THE REINSTATEMENT OF MALE POWER: HUMILIATION AND PUNISHMENT
The Importance of a Good Name
Female Adultery and the Loss of Male Honour
Slander
The Portrait of the Shakespearean Slanderer
The Treatment of the Slandered Heroine
The Reinstatement of Male Honour: The Heroine’s Public Exposure
Punishment in Private
Female Shrewishness and Male Reputation
The Supposed Unreliability of Female Utterance
Shrew-Taming Methods

Chapter 5.
THE VINDICATION OF THE WOMAN: TOWARDS A POSITIVE STEREOTYPE
The Destructive Power of Slander
The Slandered Heroines’ Defenders
The Need for Proof
The Publication of the Heroine’s Innocence
The Sanctification of the Heroine
The Revaluation of the Shrew: Female Power
The Treatment of the Slanderer
The Moor’s Suicide in Othello
Claudio’s Superficial Repentance in Much Ado about Nothing
Leontes’s Penance in The Winter’s Tale
Posthumus’s Self-Punishment in Cymbeline
Men’s Tolerance of Female Insubordination
Unconventional Couples
Natural Relationships in a Natural World
Conjugal Mutuality
The Return to Order

Conclusion

Bibliography

Index