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Chaste ValueEconomic Crisis, Female Chastity and the Production of Social Difference on Shakespeare's Stage$
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Katherine Gillen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474417716

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474417716.001.0001

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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: 19 September 2021

Introduction: Chastity and the Question of Value

Introduction: Chastity and the Question of Value

(p.1) Introduction: Chastity and the Question of Value
Chaste Value

Katherine Gillen

Edinburgh University Press

The introduction demonstrates that chastity discourse resonates strongly with commercial discourses about currency, commodities, and value. It mines mercantile tracts, conduct books, and writings about life in commercial London to show how early moderns interpreted rapidly shifting evaluations of currency, commodities, and selfhood. Readings of several primary texts elucidate the significance of chastity within English national discourse and establishe linkages between the epistemological questions surrounding chastity and those concerning commerce. The introduction also addresses the material conditions of the theatre, as the theatre’s commercial investments and embodied, often cross-dressed modes of representation heighten its concern with questions of value, commoditisation, and economic subjectivity. This opening chapter lays the groundwork for Chaste Value’s central claim that the public theatre engages with economic chastity discourse as a means of working through questions of personal value in early capitalist England.

Keywords:   Chastity, value, early modern theatre, economics, English national identity

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