This essay examines representations of the womb across late medieval and early modern performance. The N-Town Mary plays and the Elizabethan tragedy Gorboduc are separated by less than a century but are rarely examined in light of one another. Using microhistorical methods and formal textual analysis, the essay zooms in on the trope of the womb across the theological divide separating these plays. It argues that these representations demonstrate a consistent and ambivalent connection between the mind and womb, a connection that does not subordinate one part of the body to another, but instead makes visible a dialectical relationship between the two. Examining literary representations of individual and social experiences of premodern pregnancy, the essay offers a complementary approach to historical archival methods.
1 January 2017
Sara Petrosillo; A Microhistory of the Womb from the N-Town Mary Plays to Gorboduc. Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 1 January 2017; 47 (1): 121–146. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10829636-3716602
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