Staging taste
in The senses in early modern England, 1558–1660

This chapter is a response to Farah Karim-Cooper's provocative analysis of touch and, to a lesser extent taste, in the early modern playhouse, by focusing on the specifics of the way in which taste was literally and metaphorically 'staged'. It explores the divided reputation that tasting sense had in early modern England, drawing on visual, medical and moral traditions. The chapter covers material tasting by examining the ways in which the physical action of tasting was presented on stage and presents a short analysis of Thomas Dekker and Philip Massinger's The Virgin Martyr. It looks at figurative and semi-figurative uses of taste in early modern plays, concluding with an account of William Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida. The chapter brings the material and immaterial tasting together in an analysis of Thomas Middleton's taste-infused tragedy Women Beware Women.

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