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The CastratoReflections on Natures and Kinds$
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Martha Feldman

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520279490

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520279490.001.0001

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Of Strange Births and Comic Kin

Of Strange Births and Comic Kin

(p.2) (p.3) 1 Of Strange Births and Comic Kin
The Castrato

Martha Feldman

University of California Press

Explanations for castration have long puzzled scholars of castrato singers. chapter 1 takes narratives of castration to be cultural gestures that move their protagonists from budding hubris to alleged servitude, from the perils to maleness to hubristically comical claims of male-to-male generation. The patterns manifest in surprising, expiatory jokes and tropes about castration that extend to bizarre affinities with the endlessly generative, carnivalesque figure of Pulcinella, and at the same time, these narratives freely refigure Christ’s passion in imitations that retrospectively forestall the ills of castration through boastful claims of courage.

Keywords:   Pucinella, birth, reproduction, therapy, Balatri, money, transformation

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