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Veep, Homeland, and Scandal
Elisabeth Bronfen

democracy to do one or the other, sometimes one and the other, sometimes both at the same time and/or by turns’. 1 Those considered to be rogue are sometimes legitimate compeers, sometimes illegitimate antagonists, and, as such, they contest any unequivocal distinction between inclusion and exclusion. The proximity between a democratic rule by representatives of the populace held to be eligible and rule by those ‘othered’ as rogues, who lay claim to a countersovereignty, is, thus, ambiguous. Given that those who operate outside the legitimate rules of the political

in Serial Shakespeare
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A series of first female presidents from Commander in Chief to House of Cards
Elisabeth Bronfen

Lady Macbeth in the Oval Office Frank Underwood realises that his house of cards is finally about to topple when two Democratic senators visit him in the Oval Office. Because the Judiciary Committee is about to send articles of impeachment to the House of Representatives, they have come to ask him to resign. Rather than complying with their suggestion, he insists that dirty hands were always part of Washington’s politics, even if history has a way of looking better than it was. Then, no longer addressing the two congressmen and, instead, looking squarely

in Serial Shakespeare
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The Wire
Elisabeth Bronfen

It’s all in the game While Shakespeare’s history plays were designed so that his audience could enjoy each individually without seeing any of the others, once they came to be published in collections, they were assembled into series, revolving around two formative political conflicts. In the first series, the conflict is the troubled reign of Henry VI and the Wars of the Roses ( Henry VI parts 1–3 and Richard III ); in the second series, it is the forced abdication of Richard II and the controversy of succession this engendered ( Richard II , Henry IV

in Serial Shakespeare
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The Americans
Elisabeth Bronfen

‘meantime’, as though to counter the spirit of disenthralment which the end of carnival heralds, he prolongs the disguise of his future wife. 12 If Viola is still cross-dressed, he insists on treating her as though she were Cesario, postponing the wedding. What begins again, off stage, is revelling in a different key. While Twelfth Night is never directly cited in The Americans , Shakespeare is gestured towards in a few tossed off quotes, severed entirely from their original context. During an elegant dinner at a political convention, a KGB operative invokes

in Serial Shakespeare
Deadwood
Elisabeth Bronfen

, Goneril and Regan, results in an interregnum marked by lawlessness and civil war, at the end of which a new political order under the sovereignty of the King of France will begin. 5 The gold-rush town where Jack is about to open his theatre is also in a state of interregnum, and throughout the three seasons of this serial drama, those in power forge ever-shifting alliances in a world where there is no law at all. Built on Sioux territory, Deadwood is not only an illegal settlement but also considered to be outside the jurisdiction of any laws made in Washington. At

in Serial Shakespeare
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Appropriation, dislocation, and crossmapping
Elisabeth Bronfen

concern is not just noticing that Shakespeare plays a vibrant role in these serial TV dramas. At issue are also the readings that become possible once his presence – whether explicitly intended or merely surmised – has been detected and, with it, a line of connection between these two distinct texts discovered. What is the political, what the aesthetic status of this re-presence? Triggered by these selectively chosen citations, what analogies, what lines of correspondence can be drawn into focus regarding their overarching narrative as well as the multiple storylines

in Serial Shakespeare
Westworld
Elisabeth Bronfen

intimation of a previous existence, which to her as well is ‘far off/And rather like a dream than an assurance/That my remembrance warrants’. 28 While Prospero attributes his loss of political power in Milan to overindulgence in his studies, with Dr Ford’s fantasy of omnipotence in mind, the manner in which he recounts his enforced abdication is revealing. The usurper, Antonio, he claims ‘new created/The creatures that were mine, I say, or changed ‘em,/Or else new formed ‘em’. 29 He, thus, also conceives of successful sovereignty as being based not only on an

in Serial Shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet and romantic tragedy
R. S. White

our point of view, one of the film’s themes is the conflict between the Spanish-derived personality and the Anglo-Saxon, in New York as a city of immigrants. Irene Dash has emphasised the historical moment when the original musical was staged, suggesting that dividing society and countries into polarised enemies was a conscious political strategy during the Cold War in the 1950s: ‘the culture of fear

in Shakespeare’s cinema of love
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The Taming of the Shrew and odd-couple comedy
R. S. White

embarrassed by the play, sometimes apologetic about what they see as its distasteful sexual morality and crude comedy. But the fact remains that the play is embedded firmly in the popular repertory and in countless film adaptations, always reflecting some attitudes to equality and inequality current at the time of performance. There are various possible explanations for the popularity. The politics of the

in Shakespeare’s cinema of love
R. S. White

of ‘marriage’. Although the cultural politics are very different in the play, feminist critics in particular have pointed out that Shylock shares with women an ‘outsider’ status indicated in the need for Portia to disguise herself in order to practise law, and that there is even a tradition of female actors playing the role of the Jew. 19 In She’s the Man (2006), the original device

in Shakespeare’s cinema of love