The Body of the Queen. Gender and Rule in the Courtly World, 1500-2000.
Regina Schulte (éd.)
New York : Berghahn Books, 2006. xii + 364 p. Illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. $85.00 (cloth), ISBN ; $28.50 (paper), ISBN 978-1-84545-159-2.
If the king has two bodies, as Ernst Kantorowicz originally claimed, then how many bodies has the queen ? More importantly, how are these bodies constructed, transgressed and visually represented ?
These provocative questions were the impetus for the collaborative dialogue among the fourteen contributors to this collection of essays, which was originally published as "Der Körper der Königin : Geschlecht und Herrschaft in der höfischen Welt seit 1500" (2002). While attention to the queen’s body, or bodies, has grown in recent historiography, Regina Schulte articulates this book as a response to studies that posit a dichotomy between masculine political bodies and feminized natural bodies (p. 2).
Rather, she suggests that "the body of the queen" be understood as a holistic framework for understanding how the "political and natural bodies of the queen were inextricably intertwined" (p. 3). Her nuanced depiction of the paradox created by the simultaneous presence of royal bodies as both natural and political entities sets an intriguing theoretical and methodological foundation for a diverse set of case studies...