To creep in at mine eyes: theatre and secret contagion in Twelfth Night

Edited book (chapter)


Chalk, Darryl. 2010. "To creep in at mine eyes: theatre and secret contagion in Twelfth Night." Chalk, Darryl and Johnson, Laurie (ed.) Rapt in secret studies: emerging Shakespeares. Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 171-193
Chapter Title

To creep in at mine eyes: theatre and secret contagion in Twelfth Night

Book Chapter CategoryEdited book (chapter)
ERA Publisher ID1417
Book TitleRapt in secret studies: emerging Shakespeares
Authors
AuthorChalk, Darryl
EditorsChalk, Darryl and Johnson, Laurie
Page Range171-193
Chapter Number9
Number of Pages23
Year2010
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
Place of PublicationNewcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
ISBN9781443823289
Abstract

I seek to demonstrate in this chapter that the recurrent connection between theatre and contagion in antitheatrical discourse, and in plays like Twelfth Night, can be explained through an examination of the emerging understanding of both plague's aetiology and other forms of contagion, such as lovesickness. While other critics have noted the disease-laden rhetoric of antitheatrical documentation, there has been almost no consideration of the implications of the way in which playwrights recognise and seem to consciously address this peculiar indictment. It is my contention that Twelfth Night presents one of several examples of Shakespearean plays deliberately and self-consciously citing and responding directly to antitheatrical sentiment, and that this is most acutely apparent in the repetitive metaphorisation of theatre as a contagion in antitheatrical treatises.

Keywordsplague; Shakespeare; theatre; Twelfth Night; contagion; antitheatrical; cross-dressing; lovesickness; eyesight; stage; early modern; Renaissance
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020360403. Drama, theatre and performance studies
470504. British and Irish literature
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Byline AffiliationsDepartment of Theatre
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