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date: 19 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article sets aside Middleton's first boy players to think about his latest, offering a case study in performance that begins by remembering an experiment in boys becoming women, and then focuses on an ensemble of boys playing A Mad World, My Masters. It considers the attraction of Middleton for youth today: the way he rubs up their young lives; the friction he sets up between their adolescence and his works. Fed in school on a standard educational diet of William Shakespeare, boys messing around with Middleton – scurrilous punster, dirty joker – can gorge on toothsome junk food that satisfies appetites Shakespeare never reaches.

Keywords: Thomas Middleton, boys, plays, William Shakespeare

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