Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage
Routledge, 2008 - 174
Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage provides the first sustained reading of Restoration plays through a performance theory lens. This approach shows that an analysis of the conjoined performances of torture and race not only reveals the early modern interest in the nature of racial identity, but also how race was initially coded in a paradoxical fashion as both essentially fixed and socially constructed. An examination of scenes of torture provides the most effective way to unearth these seemingly contradictory representations of race because depictions of torture often interrogate the incongruous desire to substitute the visible and manipulable materiality of the body for the more illusive performative nature of identity. In turn, Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage challenges the long-standing assumption that early modern conceptions of race were radically different in their fluidity from post-Enlightenment ones by demonstrating how many of the debates we continue to have about the nature of racial identity were engendered by these seventeenth-century performances.
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While critics have attempted to redress this linguistic construction by documenting the history of torture and its ublic concealment , few have addressed the significance of true performances of torture . How does one theoretically ...
( 17 ) Settle's critics admit that the Restoration theatre managers and audiences are drawn in by the “ curiosity ” of the “ new , ” “ rar [ e ] , ” and “ strange ” spectacle of the play's setting in Morocco .
Seizing on the image of Dryden as torturer , an anonymous defender of his sought to depict this characterization as a gross projection of the violence perpetrated instead by literary critics . The anonymous writer of A Description of ...
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