The focus of this study is upon the Corpus Christi plays, supplemented by other performance practices such as festive and social entertainments, civic parades, funeral processions and public punishments. The main argument relates to the traditional approaches to women's non-performance in the Corpus Christi dramas, but other factors are considered and analysed, including the semiotics of the cross-dressed actor and the significance of the visual and spatial language of the processional stage to gender debates. In conclusion, there is a series of readings which reassess the dramatic portrayal of a selection of holy and vulgar women - the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, Mrs Noah and Dame Procula. The emphasis throughout the book is upon a performance-based analysis. Evidence from Records of Early English Drama, social, literary and cultural sources are drawn together in order to investigate how performances within the late Middle Ages were both shaped by, and shaped, the public image of women. KATIE NORMINGTON is Lecturer in Drama, Royal Holloway, London.
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