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date: 01 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

John Fletcher and William Shakespeare’s The Two Noble Kinsmen (ca. 1613–1614) includes a version of the anti-masque morris dance from Francis Beaumont’s Masque of the Inner Temple and Gray’s Inn, part of the nuptial celebration for King James’s daughter. When transferred to the stage, the dance became a commodity with multivalent appeal. If the court anti-masque parodically appropriated the folk dance, then as the stage reappropriated the dance, it weakened the parody and applied a new sheen of court association, selling the opportunity to experience part of a well-known royal event. At the same time, the dance’s success within the play makes an argument for the skill of both the middling sort and the players who act them. Finally, the dance provides a venue for the expression of female cross-class desire, which, unlike the destructive male expression of desire through combat, brings social and economic success to its participants.

Keywords: masque, anti-masque, morris dance, Two Noble Kinsmen, Beaumont, Fletcher, Shakespeare

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