Staging Domesticity: Household Work and English Identity in Early Modern Drama

Overview

Wendy Wall argues that representations of housework in the early modern period helped to forge conceptions of national identity. With a detailed account of household practices, this study interprets plays on the London stage in reference to the first printed cookbooks in England. Working from original historical sources, Wall reveals that domesticity was represented as "familiar" as well as "exotic". She analyzes a wide range of plays including some now little-known as well as ...
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Overview

Wendy Wall argues that representations of housework in the early modern period helped to forge conceptions of national identity. With a detailed account of household practices, this study interprets plays on the London stage in reference to the first printed cookbooks in England. Working from original historical sources, Wall reveals that domesticity was represented as "familiar" as well as "exotic". She analyzes a wide range of plays including some now little-known as well as key works of the early modern period.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Wall's book usefully complicates and deepens the field...[Wall] produces illuminating interpretations of the dramatic texts she scrutinizes and also of the gendered social dynamics of early modern England." Renaissance Quarterly

"Wall's book deserves widespread attention." Modern Language Quarterly

"Easily the most engaging, most thoroughly enjoyable study of the year...a learned, beautifully written 'must read' jam-packed...with fascinating detail..Buy this book." Studies in English Literature

"In a beautifully sustained argument, Wall offers powerful, detailed renderings of household practices ... and equally intriguing interpretations of the emergence of the household in drama identifying itself as 'English'.... Essential for libraries serving graduate students and researchers." Choice

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Wendy Wall is Associate Professor of English Literature at Northwestern University and a scholar of early modern literature and culture. She is the author of The Imprint of Gender: Authorship and Publication in the English Renaissance (Cornell University Press, 1993) and co-editor of the journal Renaissance Drama. Wall has published widely on print technology, voyeurism, women's writing, poetry, housework, and early modern culture.
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Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; Introduction: in the nations' kitchen; 1. Familiarity and pleasure in the English household guide, 1500–1700; 2. Needles and birches: pedagogy, domesticity, and the advent of English comedy; 3. Why does Puck sweep? Shakespearean fairies and the politics of cleaning; 4. The erotics of milk and live food, or, ingesting early modern Englishness; 5. Tending to bodies and boys: queer physic in Knight of the Burning Pestle; 6. Blood in the kitchen: service, taste, and violence in domestic drama; Notes; Bibliography; Index.
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