Violence Against Women in Early Modern Performance Invisible Acts

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-02-15
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

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Examining some of the most iconic texts in English theatre history, including Titus Andronicus, The Duchess of Malfiand The Changeling, this book reveals the pernicious erasure of rape and violence against women in the early modern era, and the politics and ethics of rehearsing these negotiations on the twentieth- and twenty-first century stages.

Author Biography

KIM SOLGA is an associate professor of English at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. She is the author of Violence Against Women in Early Modern Performance: Invisible Acts (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).

Table of Contents

"Introducing the complex and useful concept of 'in/visible acts' — of witnessing, among other things — Kim Solga provides a nuanced and carefully historicized feminist performance analysis of violence against women as it is at once represented and disappeared in both early modern performance and contemporary productions of early modern plays. The book brilliantly negotiates the tensions involved in staging spectacular absence, and the problems and promises of making ethical use of representations produced by iconic playwrights who are emphatically neither feminist nor 'our contemporaries.' Compellingly written, theoretically sophisticated, thickly researched, and surprisingly uplifting, Violence Against Women in Early Modern Performance is a major contribution to early modern, feminist, theatre and performance studies. It concludes with a bracing call for an actively ethical critical spectatorship in our time." - Ric Knowles, Professor of Theatre Studies, University of Guelph, Canada

"Powerfully argued and elegantly written, Solga's book reminds us that the practices of violence against women, so familiar in early modern theatre, return with spectacular force in these plays' re-representation as contemporary performance. But the author provides much more than this analysis as she insists on our potential as spectators and readers who can make a difference, as champions of an ethical reception. This is an inspiring book that deserves serious attention." - Susan Bennett, University of Calgary, Canada

"This book is admirable for its commitment to a model of ethical spectatorship...;for the clarity of its argument; and for its perceptive, carefully researched, and elegant readings of particular performances. Solga offers a compelling model for a critically and politically engaged early modern performance studies (delineating its difference from work on early modern drama in/and performance) that I hope will influence further work in this area. Violence Against Women is invaluable reading for students and academics of early modern drama in contemporary performance, especially those concerned with the political and ethical implications of staging (and watching) violence against women. Its concern with the ethics of spectatorship and the politics of re-presenting acts of violence against women also marks its useful contribution to these debates in theatre and performance studies more broadly and to feminist performance criticism in particular." - Catherine Silverstone, Early Theatre

"...an eloquent, highly theoretically sophisticated and passionate call for an ethics of performance and ethics of spectatorship that relies on trauma theory and performance studies (in particular the work of Phelan, Bennett, Blau, Taylor and Schneider) to problematise the staging and viewing of early modern acts of violence against women in present-day performance...Her work certainly has the power to challenge and discombobulate (her word!) its readers and shake us out of our pleasurable habits of complacent spectatorship." - Pascale Aebischer, University of Exeter, UK

"It is refreshing to read a book that is, in many ways, a call to arms, and that wears its politics overtly...fascinating for what it can tell us about the contemporary performance of early plays and about the negotiations that must still go on when presenting their scenes of violence against women." - Karen Britland, Theatre Survey

"Solga's book will appeal to all students of early modern drama and contemporary theatre, particularly those inter- ested in gender and feminism. It is crucial reading for academics, but also for theatre practitioners seeking through their own productions to inter- vene in a theatrical history of representing violence against women in early modern drama." - Farah Karim-Cooper, Contempo

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