Natasha Korda’s Afterword addresses this Special Issue’s contribution to the now considerable body of scholarship documenting female performance at every level of society across early modern England and Europe. In the wake of such scholarship, originating over a century ago, Korda asks why the case for the canonical significance of female performance practices still needs to be made. Tracing the “separate, but not equal” status conferred on female performance by the first wave of scholarship in the field, Korda then turns to the revisionist, second wave of scholarship, emerging in the 1980s and 90s and influenced by feminist and performance studies, which sought to establish that the “all-male stage” was more the exception than the rule in light of the heterogeneous landscape of female performance found outside of London and on the European continent. Building on this recovery and inclusion of a broad range of female performance practices, this volume seeks to make the case for their canonical significance, and in the process defines new lines of inquiry indicative of a third wave of scholarship in the field. The essays collected here not only demonstrate the profound and transformative influence of female performance on both canonical and (hitherto) non-canonical plays and on the performance styles of boy-actors, but illuminate the gendered ideologies underlying the process of canon-formation itself. In so doing they point the way toward a newly conceived canon defined by unexpected lines of influence that range across periods, geographic boundaries, generic divisions, and genders.


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pp. 121-128
Launched on MUSE
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