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In early modern England, boys and girls learned to be masculine or feminine as they learned to read and write. This book explores how gender differences, instilled through specific methods of instruction in literacy, were scrutinized in the English public theater. Close readings of plays from Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost to Thomas Dekker's Whore of Babylon, and of poems, didactic treatises and autobiographical writings from the same period, offer a richly textured analysis of the interaction among didactic precepts, literary models, and historical men and women.
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