Farah Karim-Cooper

in Cosmetics in Shakespearean and Renaissance Drama

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780748619931
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652204 | DOI:

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Most critics who have examined the theological and misogynistic opposition to cosmetics argue that the dramatic representation of cosmetics is grounded in a fundamental devaluation of beautification. The painted iconography of Queen Elizabeth I was simultaneously an emblem of political potency and a marker of an unmistakable femininity. Cosmetic ingredients and the metaphorical language offered by cosmetic discourses provided dramatists with crucial and vividly dramatic materials for their art. Dramatists saw fit to transport the notion of beautification out of the domestic space into the theatrical space, recognising the performative value of cosmetic materiality and the poetic richness of cosmetic metaphors.

Keywords: beautification; Queen Elizabeth I; femininity; cosmetic ingredients; metaphorical language; cosmetic metaphors; cosmetic materiality

Chapter.  501 words. 

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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