Since the publication of Recovering Disability in Early Modern England in 2013, interest in disability representation within early modern contexts has grown considerably. In less than a decade, debates surrounding the use of "disability" as a term by which we may explore pre and early modern literature and culture have somewhat quieted, giving way to bold scholarship and new, insightful reflections on long-considered texts. Early Modern Theatre and the Figure of Disability by Genevieve Love does just that. It is a book of many interventions, both within the field of Disability Studies (DS) and in early modern theatre, and with each incisive chapter no analysis or rumination is taken for granted. At the heart of the study is an interest in literary and theatrical history, by which Love argues for a reimagining of the prosthetic disabled character as a figure full of productive possibilities in "our understanding of literary signification, especially of theatrical meaning-making" (10).

The volume is successful in a number of ways. Of note is Love's careful and precise methodology. Early in the introduction, she writes, "Grounded in neither a historicist nor a disability studies methodology, my arguments about disability representations are not shaped by, for example, the widely used 'social' and 'cultural' models of disability and their attention to the individual's relationships to historical, social and cultural environments" (6). Though somewhat brief in this regard, the introduction excavates a theoretical line within disability studies which focuses on the metaphorical deployment of disability in aesthetic representation; Love wonders at the missing links within the prevailing contest over how we might "read" figures of disability by suggesting the prosthetic relationship inherent to the theatrical project. "My investigation," she adds, "builds on these studies of relationships between disability and mimetic forms, and how disability 'stands for' their maneuvers or triggers their missteps" (11). Indeed, at the center of this reconnoiter of mimesis and prosthesis are two correspondent "figures": first between the two bodies of actor and character and secondly between two forms of media, namely that of the performance and of the text itself (8). Love's is a study of literary and performance representation, and her appeal to finely examined, close readings of the text is much appreciated, both for its intervention in more critically understanding the aesthetic figurations of atypical embodiment and for thinking about the role of theatrical (im)personation, or the "metarepresentational power of the disabled body in the context of the unique mimetic medium of theatre" (7).

Taking up the question of actor and character, the first two chapters explore "the disability of theatricality" (13) to trace the figural power of two characters who use prosthetics. Each chapter reads like a careful, meticulously considered case study. In chapter 1, Love explores the figure of Cripple in The Fair Maid of the Exchange. By working through the play-text, Love refers to the theatrical machinery and speculative performance of the character, linking the grammatical and semiotic flavor of the printed text to the production of the performer on stage. In this way, she "commits to a philological strategy, drilling into the play's lexicon of prosthetic disabled embodiment, particularly its kinetic verbs" (40). Disability has traditionally been rendered in literary history as an embodiment of "too much" or "too little," that is, something gone awry, and Love locates Cripple in this "simultaneous surplus and deficiency" (42) not only within this tradition but also to tease out the theoretical and practical stakes for theatrical performance. The character, she argues, does this in three important ways. First, through his relationship with his prosthetics. Cripple is able to "metamorphize theatrical personation" (43). The use of crutches and his flexible, oscillating relationship with them, helps us attend to the ambiguity around incorporation and separation at the heart of prosthesis. Second, the way Cripple constructs this relationship suggests locomotive skill by way of prosthetic incorporation; that is, a particular skill or ability provided by disabled embodiment. Third, these signal to a deeper linkage between disability and theatrical performance "by more broadly meditation on the riddle of incorporation of actor and role" (43). Important contraries found in the theatrical project intersect, Love argues, in the figure of Cripple, who "shows prosthetic disabled embodiment, whether mounting, bearing, directing, wafting or standing, to be a complex skill" (68).

The second chapter focuses on the character Stump from A Larum for London and, like Cripple, he is a cogent figure of the theatrical prosthetic body. However, Stump's relationship with his prosthetic leg is marked at times with "resistance and pain" (68) that troubles some points drawn in the previous chapter about The Fair Maid. Love begins by drawing our attention to the similar markers of excess and deficiency in the prosthetic body but quickly moves into thinking about the stakes of embodied performance in locomotive action. Stump, she observes, "musters a nexus of inclusion, resistance and movement-between or exchange that characterizes the encounter between the past and the present, the domestic and the foreign, as well as the operations of theatrical personation itself" (73). These inclusions, it appears, are distinctive in their "sonic dimensions: his name… sounds the complex proximity of flesh and prosthetic and is onomatopoetic for his 'stumping' across the wooden stage" (73). The figure of Stump—indeed, as the dramatis personae might suggest—is at once paratextual, "full" and "empty," and a marker of oscillating proximity. Stump likewise serves as a nice bridge into the volume's second half, as he carries us from a "figuration of theatrical being to the intersections of theatre and print, and of early modern performance and present criticism" (70).

The two chapters that make up the second half of the book each concern themselves with the ways in which the prosthetic disabled body "enters dramatic paratexts and bibliographical discourse" (40). For instance, in chapter 3, Love explores the critical tradition of Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus in order to suss out the many bibliographical challenges it poses. Theatricality is not lost to this, however, and she uses this play as a focal point precisely because the relationship between the body and prosthetics are often disjointed, separated, and arranged within the play itself. As she decisively observes, "The trope of disability operates at a site where theatre and text separate; it also marks the ways they remain strategically conjoined" (104). Whereas the first half of the book focuses on locating the relationship of analogy in the prosthetic disabled body of the character, this chapter uses the analogy to surface insights about the scholarly discourse surrounding theatrical figures of disability. In so doing, Love argues that "the playful staging of truncation and prosthesis in Faustus, and the persistence of truncation and prosthesis as metaphor in the play's modern textual journey, reveals the powerful figurative role of disability in both the early modern theatrical event and the transmission of early modern theatrical texts" (106). Chapter 4 similarly traces these bibliographical complexities in Shakespeare's Richard III. The character of Richard is no stranger to disability studies, but Love's approach to the character's critical reception offers remarkably fresh insights. She notes, "As our perceptions of the degree of Richard's difference waver and shift, so too this anomalous body, in concert with these shifting perceptions, and like the bodies of Cripple and Stump, is animated by oscillating forces" (130). By way of critical and scholarly reception, she claims, playgoers "have been invited to participate in evaluation of the scale of Richard's difference, not necessarily from the Richard of Shakespeare's sources, but from previous performances of the role and from the body of the actor performing the role" (140). What comes to light in this last figure is how paratextual and critical discourse often have a heavy hand in the figuration of disabled bodies, much like the machinery of theatrical production itself.

Not only does this volume have something to offer to students of disability and early modern drama, but also to performance theorists, book historians, bibliographers, and those interested in reception studies. The texts under evaluation present persuasive cases for Love's thesis and suggest to us that there is still more to be said about the metaphorical and metonymical figures of prosthesis and disability in literary production. Early Modern Theatre and the Figure of Disability raises new questions about how these individual text-cases (among others in the period) speak to theatrical practice more broadly. As a member to the ongoing conversations on early representations of non-standard bodies, the volume likewise suggests new approaches to the critical treatment of disability in historical contexts and pre-modern paradigms.

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