Gender and Performance in Shakespeare's Problem Comedies

Overview

"This is exactly the kind of work, with its synthesis of theory, close reading, and deconstructive performance criticism that many of us in the profession have been looking for." —Joel B. Altman, University of California, Berkeley

"McCandless’s book represents an inventive and illuminating account that not only produces a theoretically activated text but also explores a range of options for staging it, turning 'theoretical into 'theatrical meanings." —Barbara Hodgdon, Drake University

"The writing is clear, snappy, wonderfully informed with a

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Overview

"This is exactly the kind of work, with its synthesis of theory, close reading, and deconstructive performance criticism that many of us in the profession have been looking for." —Joel B. Altman, University of California, Berkeley

"McCandless’s book represents an inventive and illuminating account that not only produces a theoretically activated text but also explores a range of options for staging it, turning 'theoretical into 'theatrical meanings." —Barbara Hodgdon, Drake University

"The writing is clear, snappy, wonderfully informed with a vivid and experienced theatrical imagination... a book that taught me a good deal about the problem comedies, especially from the vantage point of performance, though the insights into performance are fully and incisively integrated with, and they richly illuminate, formal, thematic, and psychological vantage points on the play." —Richard P. Wheeler, University of Illinois

Composed at a critical moment in English history, 'All’s Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure, and Troilus and Cressida—Shakespeare’s problem plays—dramatize a crisis in the sex-gender system. They register a male dread of emasculation and engulfment, a fear of female authority and sexuality. In these plays males identify desire for a female as dangerous and unmanly, females contend and confound traditional femininity. David McCandless’s book is a unique and invigorating example of performance criticism that illuminates these difficult, sometimes-overlooked tragicomedies. It is an original and timely contribution to Shakespearean theater scholarship.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Examines the drama of sexual difference in and . McCandless theater and english, Carleton analyzes the performance histories of the problem comedies, bringing directorial modes of inquiry to his analysis. The author also looks at the historical context in which the three plays were written, at the boundary between the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I, and at how this historical location affected issues of gender and power within the works. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

David McCandless is an independent scholar and director. Previously he directed plays and taught theater at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Illinois, and Stanford University.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Introduction

1. All’s Well That Ends Well
Helena’s Femininity: Subject vs. Object
Bertram’s Masculinity: Rite of Passage
Drama of Difference: Old and New Tales
Staging the Bed-Trick
Final Scenes: Unresolved Tension
2. Measure for Measure
The Duke as Ghostly Father
Angelo’s Sadism: Punishing Claudio
Speechless Dialect: Isabella s (Lacking) Sexuality
Angelo’s Sadomasochistic Fantasy: Propositioning Isabella
Gestic Staging
The Duke s Sadomasochistic Spectacle
Final Moments: What Do You Think This Is?
3. Troilus and Cressida
The War as Empty Spectacle
Troilus and Cressida: The Limits of Sexuality
Seduction
The Limits of Subjectivity
Feminist Gestus
Between Men: The Homoerotics of War
Final Scenes
Notes

Index

Indiana University Press

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