Violence Against Women in Early Modern Performance: Invisible Acts (Hardback)
  • Violence Against Women in Early Modern Performance: Invisible Acts (Hardback)

Violence Against Women in Early Modern Performance: Invisible Acts (Hardback)

Hardback 212 Pages
Published: 29/09/2009
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Examining some of the most iconic texts in English theatre history, including Titus Andronicus and The Changeling, this book, now in paperback with a new Preface, 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 20th and 21st century stages.

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN: 9780230219540
Number of pages: 212
Weight: 454 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 18 mm


'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

' 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, Contemporary Theatre Review

'Kim Solga's stimulating study participates in an innovative trend in scholarship on early modern drama to interweave late-modern performance theory with historically specific representations of embodied violence. In this way, she contributes to recent critical discussion of the shattered selves and violated bodies of the Renaissance stage...the book asks difficult though crucial questions not only about what these plays might have meant in their historical context, but also about why we keep returning to them now and how we might best stage them to produce politically committed and self-conscious forms of feminist spectatorship...In its attention to production history, abject embodiment, and the elisions of early modern texts, Violence Against Women can, perhaps, serve as a companion piece to Pascale Aebischer's Shakespeare's Violated Bodies, with which it is occasionally in dialogue. Both books bring the insights of feminism, performance theory, and theatre criticism to bear on early modern plays, and, in so doing, both offer evidence of exciting new developments in the methods and insights of recent scholarship on Shakespeare and his contemporaries.' - Catharine Gray, Theatre Journal

'The great strength of this book resides in its willingness to draw on and link sophisticated scholarship from several domains. In particular, Solga connects recent historicist work on gender with various forms of theory (especially Lacanian-informed work in performance studies) and with actual theatrical work. She attends to hermeneutic ambiguity and emphasizes the experience and representation of trauma, ghosts, erasure, and witnessing. Calling attention to what has often been overlooked and underexamined, Solga produces some forceful local readings and fresh perspectives on familiar scenes.' - Diana E. Henderson, Shakespeare Bulletin

'In addition to examining recent stage performances of early modern tragedies, Solga... lobs pointed questions at the discipline of performance studies, asking, Does it transform violence against women from a complex material reality into a mere trope? Questions such as these - which proliferate and expand throughout the study - rhetorically enlist the reader in what is equally a critical and an ethical project... this book will be of interest to anyone who works on these plays.' - Jenny C. Mann, Modern Drama

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