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This book studies the mother figure in English drama from the mid-sixteenth to the early seventeenth centuries. It explores a range of genres from popular mystery and moral plays to drama written for the court and universities and for the commercial theatres, including history plays, comedies, tragedies, romances and melodrama. Familiar and less-known plays by such diverse dramatists as Udall, Bale, Phillip, Legge, Kyd, Marlowe, Peele, Shakespeare, Middleton, Dekker and Webster are subject to readings that illuminate the narrative value of the mother figure to early modern dramatists. The book explores the typology of the mother figure by examining the ways in which her narrative value in religious, political and literary discourses of the period might impact upon her representation. It addresses a range of contemporary narratives from Reformation and counter-Reformation polemic to midwifery manuals and Mother's Legacies, and from the political rhetoric of Mary I, Elizabeth and James to the reported gallows confessions of mother convicts and the increasingly popular Puritan conduct books. The relations between tradition and change and between typology and narrative are explored through a focus upon the dramatised mother in a series of dramatic narratives that developed out of rapidly shifting social, political and religious conditions.

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Victoria Coldham-Fussell

reader, however, may interpret such bias ironically, and hear pathos tipping into the realm of melodrama and heroic elevation descending (or ascending, as the case may be) into mock epic. Likewise, the narrator’s moral pronouncements (‘So th’ one for wrong, the other striues for right’; I.v.8.1, 9.1) may strike the ear as either authoritative or suspiciously reductive. Such divisions of perspective are facilitated not only by The Faerie Queene , but also by its paratexts. I have mentioned the ‘Letter to Raleigh’ already; similarly equivocal are the Dedicatory

in Comic Spenser
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The Faerie Queene III–IV
Victoria Coldham-Fussell

: pragmatism and cunning in matters of sex and marriage, with a dose of superstition and melodrama thrown in. She is the descendant of earthy nurse-figures in classical literature (most notably the pseudo-Virgilian Ciris ) and of La Vieille (‘Old Woman’) in Le Roman de la rose . 39 As the enabler and guide of the lover’s search, ‘Glauce’ also suggests ‘glance’ – Britomart’s passing vision of Artegall in her father’s magic mirror ( OED , v., 5) – as well as its cognate meaning (alternatively spelt ‘glace’), ‘to slip, to fail in giving a direct blow … to glide, pass

in Comic Spenser
Victoria Coldham-Fussell

of gnats/poets, who sometimes get punished for doing a good turn. But humour is more than a ‘cover’. Any point scored against Leicester is surely counterbalanced by the poem’s ridiculously overcooked rhetoric, and by the fact that Spenser casts himself as a whining, self-important insect (we all know what mosquitos sound like). 51 If Virgils Gnat exposes injustice, I am suggesting, it equally makes fun of the melodrama and cliché of complaint, telescoping worldly grievances down to the scale of the insect world. In view of his poem’s implied critique of a

in Comic Spenser
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Deborah Warner at the Swan
Michael D. Friedman and Alan Dessen

extensive cuts; John Barton cut even more in his 1981 Royal Shakespeare Company production so as to present a 90-minute rendition as part of a double bill with The Two Gentlemen of Verona (an experiment that was not received favourably by the critics). As noted in Chapter I , many reviewers of Brook’s production were less than enthusiastic about the original script and therefore praised the cuts and adjustments. Daniel Scuro (p. 42) admired Brook’s tasteful editing of Shakespeare’s ‘extravagant poetry and melodrama

in Titus Andronicus
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R. S. White

, ‘bitter-sweet’ ups and downs of melodrama, ‘beauty and the beast’ incongruous love, love ‘second time around’, screwball comedy of forceful individuals who bond through conflict, romantic tragedy based on ‘forbidden love’ that cannot be fulfilled in the society in which the lovers exist. Music is invariably involved in manipulating audience moods to expect which of these

in Shakespeare’s cinema of love
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Shakespeare shaping modern movie genres
R. S. White

. Cavell himself showed awareness that the approach has wider implications when he came later to write Contesting Tears: The Hollywood Melodrama of the Unknown Woman , 29 in which, although the Shakespearean influence is not so prominently presented, it is again seen to be an ingredient behind film melodrama or ‘weepies’. Once again he attributes the cause to the emergence

in Shakespeare’s cinema of love
Michael D. Friedman and Alan Dessen

nothing in common with Shakespeare’s’. Rather, the adapters have ‘constructed a melodrama “of intense interest” of which Aaron is the hero’ (Marshall and Stock, p. 251). As attested by the curtain calls, the Aaron that results was a strong and appealing character, but only with some strain can the Aldridge version be viewed as part of the stage history of Shakespeare’s Titus. Rather, it represents the most extreme example of a long series of attempts (starting with Ravenscroft) to reshape this script so as make it

in Titus Andronicus
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The screen incarnations of Sir Walter Ralegh
Susan Campbell Anderson

interconnected social institutions composing its warp and woof had never before been called into question as they were in the 1950’s. As women of all ages, races, marital and maternal statuses, and socioeconomic classes flooded out of their homes and into the workplaces of America, the family structure began to change, previously sacrosanct gender roles began to alter, and struggles over the meaning of female and male became particularly evident in the cultural atmosphere. Change was imminent but not yet explicitly acknowledged.24 Her study on Hollywood melodrama of this

in Literary and visual Ralegh
Romantic comedy
R. S. White

generally regarded as a period of consolidation and development of cinematic genres such as romantic comedy, melodrama, and the musical, both on Broadway and in Hollywood. In fact it was not until their generation of critics, students, and theatrical practitioners that Shakespearean comedy was taken seriously as worthy of systematic analysis, rather than simply being praised as delightful, lightweight

in Shakespeare’s cinema of love