Bodies and their Spaces. System, Crisis and Transformation in Early Modern Theatre.
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Bodies and their Spaces: System, Crisis and Transformation in Early Modern Theatre explores the emergence of the distinctively modern “gender system” at the close of the early modern period. The book investigates shifts in the gendered spaces assigned to men and women in the “public” and “private” domains and their changing modes of interconnection; in concert with these social spaces it examines the emergence of biologically based notions of sex and a novel sense of individual subjectivity. These parallel and linked transformations converged in the development of a new gender system which more efficiently enforced the requirements of patriarchy under the evolving economic conditions of merchant capitalism. These changes can be seen to be rehearsed, contested and debated in literary artefacts of the early modern period – in particular the drama. This book suggests that until the closure of the English theatres in 1642, the drama not only reflected but also exacerbated the turbulence surrounding gender configurations in transition in early modern society. The book reads a wide range of dramatic and non-dramatic texts, and interprets them with the aid of the “systems theory” developed by the German sociologist Niklas Luhmann.