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Cosmetics in Shakespearean and Renaissance Drama$
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Farah Karim-Cooper

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780748619931

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748619931.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

Defining Beauty in Renaissance Culture

Defining Beauty in Renaissance Culture

(p.1) Chapter 1 Defining Beauty in Renaissance Culture
Cosmetics in Shakespearean and Renaissance Drama

Farah Karim-Cooper

Edinburgh University Press

This book investigates a wide range of early modern texts and the theatrical appropriation of cosmetic metaphors and materials. It also contends that the contemporary culture of cosmetics extended beyond practice and vanity and into the domains of theatre, art and poetry. The chapter argues that the early modern woman's drive to refashion herself cosmetically was a response to a particular standard inherited from classical and Italian models of female beauty. The classical paradigm of beauty requires proportion, symmetry and the visible synthesis of colour. Queen Elizabeth's feminine dissatisfaction with her physicality was fused with her conviction that power resides ultimately in beauty. Appropriated by dramatists and popularised by the stage, the cosmetic materials, language and face-painting scenes enraptured audiences, while plunging them into the thick of a cultural phenomenon that would gesture towards monarchy, death, art, poetry, race and gender.

Keywords:   cosmetics, theatre, art, poetry, female beauty, Queen Elizabeth, monarchy, death, race

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