Broken Boundaries: Women and Feminism in Restoration Drama

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This volume of twelve original essays is the first comprehensive study of feminist issues in Restoration drama. The late seventeenth century marks a pivotal era in the history of feminism, when Renaissance assumptions about gender and patriarchy were being directly challenged. For the first time, women appeared onstage as actresses, made their presence felt as spectators and patrons, and wrote a number of the plays produced in theaters. Ina n unusually direct and probing way, drama of the Restoration period ...

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Overview

This volume of twelve original essays is the first comprehensive study of feminist issues in Restoration drama. The late seventeenth century marks a pivotal era in the history of feminism, when Renaissance assumptions about gender and patriarchy were being directly challenged. For the first time, women appeared onstage as actresses, made their presence felt as spectators and patrons, and wrote a number of the plays produced in theaters. Ina n unusually direct and probing way, drama of the Restoration period raised radical questions about the place of women in the family and in society, and about the essential nature of men and women. The essays examine feminist issues from a variety of historical and theoretical approaches across a spectrum of plays — comedies, tragedies, tragicomedies, and heroic drama. By addressing the acute questions of gender raised in the drama, Broken Boundaries presents a vivid portrait of the uncertainties and changing perceptions in all areas of intellectual, political, and social life during the last decades of the seventeenth century.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A welcome collection of scholarly essays and fascinating illustrations that will surely enrich our understanding of late seventeenth-century theater." — 1650-1850

"Charts the way in which constructions of femininity in the late seventeenth century are reflected in and shaped by Restoration drama." — British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies

"An important addition to collections of feminist literary criticism and Restoration cultural studies." — Choice

"An interesting and diverse range of articles that not only cover a variety of topics but are also written from several differing critical standpoints." — Eighteenth Century

"The essays in this volume include work by established scholars in the field who take a variety of positions regarding Restoration drama, all providing a perspective on the relationship between gender and the stage in the period." — English Studies in Canada

"The first collection devoted entirely to this subject." — Year's Work in English Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813119458
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 12/1/1996
  • Pages: 256

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Pt. 1 Instruments of Propagation: Plays by Women
Blacker Than Hell Creates: Pix Rewrites Othello 13
Unmanned with Thy Words: Regendering Tragedy in Manley and Trotter 31
In the Carnival World of Adam's Garden: Roving and Rape in Behn's Rover 54
Closure and Subversion in Behn's Comedies 71
Lady Fulbank and the Poet's Dream in Behn's Lucky Chance 89
Pt. 2 Chased Desire: Women and Feminism in Plays by Men
Tupping Your Rival's Women: Cit-Cuckolding as Class Warfare in Restoration Comedy 113
Almahide Still Lives: Feminine Will and Identity in Dryden's Conquest of Granada 129
Resisting a Private Tyranny in Two Humane Comedies 150
The Way of the Word: Telling Differences in Congreve's Way of the World 164
Pt. 3 The Gaze Reversed: Theory and History of Performance
Rape, Voyeurism, and the Restoration Stage 185
Reading Masks: The Actress and the Spectatrix in Restoration Shakespeare 201
Sticks and Rags, Bodies and Brocade: Essentializing Discourses and the Late Restoration Playhouse 219
Contributors 235
Index 237
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