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Dance ResearchThe Journal of the Society for Dance Research$
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Richard Ralph

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748635849

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748635849.001.0001

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Dancing Towards Death: Masques and Entertainments in London and Florence as precedents for Thomas Middleton's Women Beware Women

Dancing Towards Death: Masques and Entertainments in London and Florence as precedents for Thomas Middleton's Women Beware Women

Chapter:
(p.134) Dancing Towards Death: Masques and Entertainments in London and Florence as precedents for Thomas Middleton's Women Beware Women
Source:
Dance Research
Author(s):

Barbara Ravelhofer

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748635849.003.0005

Thomas Middleton’s tragedy Women Beware Women (c. 1613–21), includes in its fifth act a masque during which the play’s miscreants are severally killed and its corrupt society collapses. The masque’s debt to Ben Jonson’s Hymenaei is discussed, together with its possible recollection of Florentine entertainments, including those staged in 1586 for the wedding of Cesare d’ Este with Virginia de’ Medici. The play is based on fact, centring on the seduction of Bianca Cappello and her marriage with the Grand Duke Francesco de’ Medici. Middleton makes considerable efforts to provide an ‘authentic’ Florentine setting for his play including, it is suggested, recalling the celebrated series of Medici wedding entertainments and touching on the fascination of an early seventeenth century elite society with Florentine culture.

Keywords:   Thomas Middleton, Ben Jonson, Florentine entertainments, Medici influence, the English Masque

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