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date: 17 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Since at least Tony Sher’s star-making turn as Richard III in the early 1980s, a pair of crutches has come to signal in a supplemental way the king’s disability. Yet the play does not associate these devices with him; instead, his mother imagines her dead sons (Edward and Clarence) as ‘two crutches’ ‘plucked’ from her ‘feeble hands’ (2.2.58). I will explore the genealogical resonances of ‘crutches’ across Shakespeare’s drama to illuminate the discourses of impaired masculinity and reproductive futurity that have been eclipsed in critical accounts of early modern disability by the high profile afforded to the deformed body of this stage king.

Keywords: disability, genealogy, masculinity, Richard III, prostheses

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