The early modern period is a rich period of anatomical discovery that witnessed the production of numerous texts and images, the depiction of dissection in art, and the building of anatomy theatres. Human anatomy on display corresponds, as well, to the rise of the public theatre in England. Both employ surveillance, spectacle, and human bodies as a means of discovery. This talk uses the desire Shakespeare’s King Lear expresses to “anatomize Regan; see what breeds/about her heart” as a leaping off point to explore how early modern “anatomical culture” intersects with early modern theatre and gender performance in order to illuminate this suggestive line.
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