Playing With Boys On Middleton's Stage—and Ours

Carol Chillington Rutter

in The Oxford Handbook of Thomas Middleton

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199559886
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 Playing With Boys On Middleton's Stage—and Ours

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)


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This article sets aside Middleton's first boy players to think about his latest, offering a case study in performance that begins by remembering an experiment in boys becoming women, and then focuses on an ensemble of boys playing A Mad World, My Masters. It considers the attraction of Middleton for youth today: the way he rubs up their young lives; the friction he sets up between their adolescence and his works. Fed in school on a standard educational diet of William Shakespeare, boys messing around with Middleton – scurrilous punster, dirty joker – can gorge on toothsome junk food that satisfies appetites Shakespeare never reaches.

Keywords: Thomas Middleton; boys; plays; William Shakespeare

Article.  8220 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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