Shakespearean Maternities: Crises of Conception in Early Modern England (Hardback)Chris Laoutaris (author)
Hardback 320 Pages / Published: 20/06/2008
- We can order this
This study explores maternity in the 'disciplines' of early modern England. Placing the reproductive female body centre-stage in Shakespeare's theatre, Laoutaris ranges beyond the domestic sphere in which the rituals of childbirth, midwifery and wet-nursing were performed in order to recuperate the wider intellectual, epistemological, and archaeological significance of maternity to the Renaissance imagination. Focusing on 'anatomy' in Hamlet, 'natural history' in The Tempest, 'demonology' in Macbeth, and 'heraldry' in Antony and Cleopatra, this book reveals the ways in which the maternal body was figured in, and in turn contributed towards the re-conceptualisation of, bodies of knowledge. The relevance of the maternal to early pedagogical, aesthetic, and scientific disciplines, Laoutaris argues, makes itself felt when crises overturn the desired outcomes of birth and nurture. Instances of tragic intervention - such as disease, bewitchment, monstrosity, and death - expose the potentially destabilising power of maternity, dismantling the epistemological certainties with which the maternal body had been invested in the interests of masculine legitimation. Shakespeare resists a monolithic concept of motherhood, presenting instead a range of contested 'maternities' which challenge the distinctive 'ways of knowing' these early disciplines worked to impose on the order of created nature. Key Features *Provides a new interpretation of a subject which is becoming increasingly popular among Shakespeare scholars, cultural and medical historians, and feminist critics *Focuses on four of Shakespeare's best-loved plays *Presents striking visual material which forms a central component of the book's critical methodology, including anatomical plates, cabinets of curiosity, early modern follies and grottoes, archaeological discoveries, artefacts of witchcraft and superstition, early natural historical specimens, Renaissance 'monsters', ceramics, portraiture, funerary monuments and statuary *Offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of maternity, encompassing research methods drawn from a range of academic fields, including literary studies, gender studies, the history of art, archaeology, and the history of the sciences
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 691 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 23 mm
You may also be interested in...
Please sign in to write a review
Simply reserve online and pay at the counter when you collect. Available in shop from just two hours, subject to availability.
Thank you for your reservation
Your order is now being processed and we have sent a confirmation email to you at
When will my order be ready to collect?
Following the initial email, you will be contacted by the shop to confirm that your item is available for collection.
Call us on or send us an email at
Unfortunately there has been a problem with your order
Please try again or alternatively you can contact your chosen shop on or send us an email at