Abstract

For early modern parents, the age of fourteen marked a critical stage in sexual development for their daughters, heralding a time of physiological and behavioral changes, which could threaten domestic harmony and culminate in a daughter's death by suicide or sickness. How parents handled this stage is the theme of four plays discussed here (plays by John Marston, John Fletcher, Ben Jonson, and Shakespeare). Each reflects prevailing medical indices of girls reaching "ripeness" but questions the male responses this triggers. While the brunt of criticism is directed at the medical profession, one play, The Two Noble Kinsmen, questions the broader role of religion in generating disorders in adolescent girls.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1522-9270
Print ISSN
0039-3657
Pages
pp. 421-439
Launched on MUSE
2013-06-18
Open Access
No
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