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Manchester University Press

Illegitimate Power: Bastards in Renaissance Drama

Illegitimate Power: Bastards in Renaissance Drama

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In Renaissance Drama, the bastard is an extraordinarily powerful and disruptive figure. We have only to think of Caliban or of Edmund to realise the challenge presented by the illegitimate child.

Drawing on a wide rage of play texts, Alison Findlay shows how illegitimacy encoded and threatened to deconstruct some of the basic tenets of patriarchal rule. She considers bastards as indicators and instigators of crises in early modern England, reading them in relation to witch craft, spiritual
insecurities and social unrest in family and State.

The characters discussed range from demi-devils, unnatural villains and clowns to outstanding heroic or virtuous types who challenge officially sanctioned ideas of illegitimacy. The final chapter of the book considers bastards in performance; their relationship with theatre spaces and audiences.
Illegitimate voices, Findlay argues, can bring about the death of the author/father and open the text as a piece of theatre, challenging accepted notions of authority.

Author: Alison Findlay
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Published: 05/01/2009
Pages: 288
Binding Type: Paperback
Weight: 0.74lbs
Size: 8.50h x 5.50w x 0.61d
ISBN: 9780719080852

About the Author

Alison Findlay is Professor of English at Lancaster University

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