The Girlhood of Shakespeare's Sisters : Gender, Transgression, Adolescence, Hardback Book

The Girlhood of Shakespeare's Sisters : Gender, Transgression, Adolescence Hardback

Part of the Edinburgh Critical Studies in Renaissance Culture series


This is the first sustained study of girls and girlhood in early modern literature and culture.

Jennifer Higginbotham makes a persuasive case for a paradigm shift in our current conceptions of the early modern sex-gender system.

She challenges the widespread assumption that the category of the 'girl' played little or no role in the construction of gender in early modern English culture. And she demonstrates that girl characters appeared in a variety of texts, from female infants in Shakespeare's late romances to little children in Tudor interludes to adult 'roaring girls' in city comedies.

This monograph provides the first book-length study of the way the literature and drama of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries constructed the category of the 'girl'.

It charts the emergence of the word 'girl' into early modern English and its evolution from a gender-neutral term applied to both male and female children to one used only for female individuals.

It challenges the misconception that girls were largely absent from English Renaissance literature. It offers a literary history of female child characters in Renaissance drama, from Tudor interludes to the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries to later seventeenth-century closet dramas.

It features an examination of how women writers described their own girlhoods.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 234 pages, black & white illustration
  • Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Literary studies: c 1500 to c 1800
  • ISBN: 9780748655908

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