Coda: The Exonerated Womb

  • Amy Kenny
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine book series (PLSM)


The coda offers a brief conclusion to the work on wombs the book has explored. It demonstrates how the womb and its humors are often blamed for ailments in medical literature but exonerated in Shakespeare’s plays. While the female body was demarcated by its excess—appetite, words, fluids, sexuality, imagination—in early modern medicine, Shakespeare’s plays repeatedly celebrate the womb as a fertile, creative, and powerful space wherein lineage is corroborated. Allowing women to have agency because of—not in spite of—the womb becomes a common feature of Shakespeare’s canon; wherein female characters use the period’s medical notions to further their own desires. The coda also invites future scholarship to explore research into the intersection between performance and the humors, affect theory, and emotions.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amy Kenny
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaRiversideUSA

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