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REVIEW
Paster, Gail Kern. "'In the spirit of men there is no blood':
Blood as Trope of Gender in Julius Caesar." Shakespeare Quarterly 40 (1989): 284-298.


Thesis: Here's the first paragraph:
What follows is intended to further two projects of historical reconstruction of the early-modern period: the first involves writing the body into cultural history; the second, deciphering the complex annotation of gender difference in apparently unambiguously gendered characters. In this essay these two projects come together through an interrogation of Shakespeare's use of the bodily signs of blood and bleeding, particularly in Julius Caesar. At certain discursive occasions in the play, these signs function as historically specific attributes of gender, as important tropes of patriarchal discourse. The meaning of blood and bleeding becomes part of an insistent rhetoric of bodily conduct in which the bleeding body signifies as a shameful token of uncontrol, as a failure of physical self-mastery particularly associated with woman.  (284)
After reading this far, I surmised that Paster was going to claim that every mention of blood or bleeding was really a hidden reference to menstruation. Also, by very lightly skimming the rest of the article, I found that a great deal of it is not about Julius Caesar, but about critical theory and other critics. And so I quit reading.

Bottom Line: Bloody jargon.


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   Author: Philip Weller
   Last Modified: 14 October 2005
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