Vol. 12 (2023)

“All this is but forgery”. Gender and Performative Concerns in Fletcher and Massinger’s Love’s Cure (1615)

Rachele S. Bassan
Università Ca' Foscari di Venezia

Published 2023-12-23


  • Cross-Dressing,
  • John Fletcher,
  • Metatheatre,
  • Performativity,
  • Renaissance Drama


The instability of the medical definition of human sex and gender in early modern times was such that “male” and “female” became a matter of performance rather than pure biology. This paper aims to show that the Jacobean play Love’s Cure (1615) exposes how not only gender, but also society and its codified behaviours (e.g., honour) are artificial, conventional constructions. The analysis of the text will rely on metatheatrical references and dynamics in the play, but also on early modern medical theories and cultural phenomena such as clothing and the carnivalesque-like exceptionality of theatre.


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