• Discandying Cleopatra: Preserving Cleopatra’s Infinite Variety in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra

    Author(s):
    Jennifer Park (see profile)
    Date:
    2016
    Subject(s):
    History of science, Shakespeare, History of medicine, Manuscript recipe book, Preservation
    Item Type:
    Article
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6HC3Q
    Abstract:
    Taking Shakespeare’s unique use of the term “discandying” as a starting point, this essay argues that Shakespeare’s preoccupation with food preservation in Antony and Cleopatra extends and complicates a tradition interested in preservation more broadly construed, a tradition represented and embodied by the figure of Cleopatra as a medical, gynecological, and alchemical authority on renewal. Believed into the early modern period to be the author of an apparent Book of Cleopatra, Cleopatra as a figure comes to be intimately associated with preservation and the promise of immortality. Shakespeare reimagines the figure of Cleopatra as a product of an early modern preservative culture, drawing from both ancient tradition and contemporary domestic practices to produce a figure of and for consumption. Cleopatra demonstrates that far from being a process toward permanence, preservation is both dynamic and organic, requiring the potency of the “foreign” integrated with the domestic to rethink what it means to persevere in the face of discandying.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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