Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 21 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

While A Midsummer Night’s Dream had only two performances under its original title throughout the long eighteenth century, Shakespeare’s characters, a mixed collection of nobles, lovers, ‘mechanicals,’ and fairies, were seldom off the stage over the century, appearing regularly to applause in operas, masques, burlettas, pantomimes, and other hard-to-label ‘favours’, ‘pageants’, and ‘spectacles’. It offers, therefore, a rich case study in theatrical ‘variety,’ in terms of different performative genres, but also, more importantly, in terms of human variety and the period’s responses to differences of identity and social status in a shifting economy and a changing world. The various performances into which Shakespeare’s play was adapted are packaging for differences that both attracted and troubled eighteenth-century audiences. In these mixed genres, class, age, gender, and exotic otherness constitute a performative matrix for sexual desires and relations as they resist normative understandings of identity, status, and the social relations that define them.

Keywords: Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare, class, sexuality, gender, otherness, variety, difference

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.