The Hand on the Shakespearean Stage

The Hand on the Shakespearean Stage

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Farah Karim-Cooper

This ground-breaking new book uncovers the way Shakespeare draws upon the available literature and visual representations of the hand to inform his drama.

Providing an analysis of gesture, touch, skill and dismemberment in a range of Shakespeare's works, Farah Karim-Cooper shows how the hand was perceived in Shakespeare's time as an indicator of human agency, emotion, social and personal identity.  She demonstrates how the hand and its activities are described and embedded in Shakespeare's text and about its role on the Shakespearean stage: as part of the actor's body, in the language as metaphor, and as a morbid stage-prop. Understanding the cultural signifiers that lie behind the early modern understanding of the hand and gesture, opens up new and sometimes disturbing ways of reading and seeing Shakespeare's plays.

Farah Karim-Cooper is Head of Higher Education & Research (Globe Education) at Shakespeare's Globe and Visiting Research Fellow, King's College London.  She is also editor of the Arden Shakespeare in the Theatre and the Arden Shakespeare Intersections series.


309 pages