Civic and Medical Worlds in Early Modern England: Performing by Eleanor Decamp (auth.)

By Eleanor Decamp (auth.)

Through a wealthy foray into renowned literary tradition and clinical historical past, this publication investigates representations of normal and abnormal scientific perform in early smooth England, exploring what it intended to the early smooth inhabitants for a bunch of practitioners to be linked to either the exchange guilds and an rising expert clinical world.

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Extra resources for Civic and Medical Worlds in Early Modern England: Performing Barbery and Surgery

Sample text

The effect of the inventory can be ideological rather than physical and in this passage the barber’s inventory is a means of navigating figurations of substance and waste. In my next example I investigate the effect a playwright achieves when he combines the formal structures of a barber’s inventory in a character’s lines with the presence of hand props on stage. This double effect in a scene from Herod and Antipater produces a bizarre sense of effictio. The objects’ Inventories and Props 43 relationship with bodies is different again.

In particular, this chapter is interested in inventories, and reflects on creative and cognitive processes in theatrical production, which draw on acts of list-making. Its study of objects, both referenced and seen (or not referenced/seen), incorporates discussions about the extra-theatrical histories of the occupations’ equipment, as set down in contemporary wills, medical tracts and encyclopaedias. The second chapter, ‘“Lend me thy basin, apron and razor”: Disguise, (Mis) Appropriation and Play’, takes disguise motifs as its point of reference for its ideological focus on the practitioner as a theatrical construction.

It argues that, in particular, characters on stage who present themselves as a barber establish a barbery context self-reflexively: this has a similar dramaturgical result to ‘staging’ an actor. A binary effect emerges which corresponds to the first chapter’s interest in absent surgery: while barbery often functions as a disguise (and, as such, is readily exposited and performative), surgery is frequently the covered-up process in dramatic action, remaining an offstage phenomenon. Only the practitioner of lewd, accidental, or ineffectual surgery is manifest; invariably this is an allusion to the barber-surgeon through whom barbery shrouds surgery.

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