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In the Renaissance, the archetype for history was the classical muse Clio, a much-painted figure in an era when the 'history painting' was one of the predominant genres in European visual art. One Renaissance dramatist and poet who never made reference to Clio was William Shakespeare. This book is about official and unofficial versions of the past, histories and counter-histories, in Shakespeare's works and their subsequent appropriations. It builds on a long period in which those of us working in literary and theatre studies have developed an awareness of the extent to which conventional recreations of the past are mediated through the fictionalising structures of narrative. The book explores how the history plays construct counter-historical representations of the dead. It argues that the 'dislocutionary' threat of grief and the performance of the suffering body is a version of the kind of spectator/spectre relationship drawn in any ritualised encounter with the cult of the ancestor. The book combines four historicist readings which explore counter-histories in the early modern period. It examines the relationship between Shakespeare's history plays and alternative dynastic histories. The book also explores questions of history and identity, particularly as they can be configured through performance. It challenges the view that women become progressively marginalised across the histories by arguing that Shakespeare's warlike women enact a power onstage which forces us to rethink official, patriarchal history.

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The unattractive body in early modern culture
Author: Naomi Baker

This book investigates representations of the unattractive human body in early modern English culture, examining in particular the role played by depictions of the unsightly body in the construction of specific models of identity. It provides a set of texts that can deepen their understanding of the culture and society of the twelfth-century German kingdom. The sources translated bring to life the activities of five noblemen and noblewomen. The book focuses on the ugly characters found in English literature and drama, and also refers to wider European texts and discourses, including Italian and other European visual art. It explores whether ugliness is an objective property or a subjective perception. Ugly men are often represented as Silenus figures, their unappealing exteriors belying their inner nobility. Carrier of diseases and transgressor of sexual, social and physical norms, the ugly woman horrifies and nauseates, provoking a violent response. The manner in which these women are 'defeatured' aligns their acquired ugliness with the erasure of identity rather than its consolidation. The usefulness of the ugly woman as a means of consolidating specific forms of masculine identity is particularly visible in some texts written in praise of unattractive mistresses. Works 'celebrating' ugly women ultimately draw attention to the male creative genius that is capable of transforming even unsightly female matter into compelling art. Eluding simple categorisations and dismantling the most fundamental of social and subjective binaries, ugly figures burst repeatedly on to the scene in early modern texts, often in the most unexpected of places.

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Ugly subjects in early modern England
Naomi Baker

culture, examining in particular the role played by depictions of the unsightly body in the construction of specific models of identity. I focus primarily on the ugly characters found in English literature and drama, but also refer to wider European texts and discourses, including Italian and other European visual art. Although many authors, readers and viewers in early modern England may not have

in Plain ugly
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Artists, histories and counter-histories
Stuart Hampton-Reeves

In the Renaissance, the archetype for history was the classical muse Clio, a much-painted figure in an era when the ‘history painting’ was one of the predominant genres in European visual art. Clio was usually depicted as a young woman holding a book (often Herodotus’ histories) and a trumpet. The book signified the written record of the past, and with her trumpet Clio was

in Shakespeare’s histories and counter-histories