Joyce Green MacDonald discusses the links between women's racial, sexual, and civic identities in early modern texts. She examines the scarcity of African women in English plays of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the racial identity of the women in the drama and also that of the women who watched and sometimes wrote the plays. The coverage also includes texts from the late fourteenth to the early eighteenth centuries, by, among others, Shakespeare, Jonson, Davenant, the Countess of Pembroke, and Aphra Behn. MacDonald articulates many of her discussions of early modern women's races through a comparative method, using insights drawn from critical race theory, women's history, and contemporary disputes over canonicity, multiculturalism, and Afrocentrism. Seeing women as identified by their race and social standing as well as by their sex, this book will add depth and dimension to discussions of women's writing and of gender in Renaissance literature.

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