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An infinite variety of appropriations in American TV drama

Serial Shakespeare explores the dissemination and reassemblage of Shakespeare’s plays in contemporary media culture, regarding the way this taps into but also transforms his preferred themes, concerns and constellations of characters. The appropriations discussed include isolated citations in Westworld and The Wire, a typology of the first female president modelled on figures of female sovereignty, as well as a discussion of what one might call a specifically Shakespearean dramaturgy in Deadwood and The Americans. By proposing a reciprocal exchange between the early modern plays and contemporary serial TV drama, the book focusses on the transhistoric and transmedial dialogue a revisitation of the Bard entails. The readings consider the Shakespeare text again, from a different perspective, but also address the fact that his text comes back to us again, from the past. The book claims that serial TV drama keeps appropriating Shakespeare to give voice to unfinished cultural business regarding the state of the American nation because both share the sense of writing in and for a period of interim. Given that the Bard continues to write and read America, what the book draws into focus is how both scriptwriters and cultural critics can, by repurposing him, come up with narratives that are appropriate to our times.

Open Access (free)
The cinematic afterlife of an early modern political diva
Elisabeth Bronfen
Barbara Straumann

against the politician, the mediality of her material embodiment also comes to be foregrounded. Moreover, these screen re-enactments thematically address the conflict between private person and public persona particular to female sovereignty because the Queen is both stateswoman and potential wife and mother (or virgin in the case of Elizabeth I). This raises the question of how each of the four film

in The British monarchy on screen
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A series of first female presidents from Commander in Chief to House of Cards
Elisabeth Bronfen

a murderous hold on power with a contemplative attitude, a proto feminist re-encoding of the tragic manifests itself in this reduction of the couple to one absolute sovereign. What if Lady Macbeth had not committed suicide and instead waited for her bloodthirsty husband to lose his final battle before returning to the stage? Indeed, if Frank Underwood’s sudden death assures Claire’s political survival, what comes to be debated over his dead body is contemporary culture’s anxiety regarding female sovereignty. 16 In one of her asides, Claire explains what it

in Serial Shakespeare
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The first wife’s response
Caitlin Flynn

In this chapter the first response, delivered by the ‘first wife’, is examined in detail. Her response is shown initially to inhere with the conventional demande d’amour, despite veering towards sexual innuendo and humour. Her fantasy of free love and female sovereignty is compared to medieval conduct literature, especially the Scottish poem The Thewis off Gud Women. Her response, however, abruptly shifts tone, subject matter, and form in order to deliver an excoriating flyting against her husband. The Scottish poetic invective form depends on a vivid and horrifying vocabulary of abuse in order to deride opponents. The wife ably employs this in her attack on her husband, which reveals explicitly the sexual and emotional abuse to which she is subject. Her fluid discourse once again shifts as she casts herself as manipulating her husband with sexual favours in exchange for luxury material items. The complex and uncomfortable tone and subject matter created by the trio of themes is explicated by the narrative grotesque: William Dunbar destroys conventional ‘languages of love’ and perceptions about eloquent emotional expression and replaces them with discourses that meld horror and humour. This displacement of one pole of expression for another, however, is shown to be equally problematic in terms of subjectivity, authenticity, and veracity.

in The narrative grotesque in medieval Scottish poetry
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Gender, genre, exile

This book examines critical assessments of the woman and her work (again, that almost unavoidable conflation) from the seventeenth century to the twenty-first. The author conveys some of the creative energy of Cavendish and her work in the middle years of the seventeenth century. More importantly, though, the author wants to show how her work was politically charged, not in any immediately evident way, but in a highly complex and imaginative way. The book illustrates and expands upon the book's central hypothesis: that Cavendish used genre in her writings of the 1650s as a means of articulating her powerlessness in the face of what the author comes to define as a 'triple exile'. In this book the author has, further, identified affinities in intention and circumstances surrounding the writing of texts earlier than those of Cavendish. Her take on earlier authors' rhetorical stances facilitates her own, acutely contemporary, comment and creativity. Cavendish's treatment of genre undergoes a transformation during and because of the civil wars which, to royalist minds, spelled the end of an epic past. The book differs in its emphasis from earlier examinations of Cavendish's writings. The author returns to the 'rehabilitative' nature of recent work on Cavendish and her writings, demonstrating how her own study has participated in this process of rehabilitation. Literary canonicity was, analogously, another 'place' from which Cavendish was for centuries exiled. This book represents a redemption of the writer from, at the very least, that particular iniquitous cultural corollary to the triple exile.

Luz Elena Ramirez

’/’explorer’ Nicholas Van Huyn who first enters Tera's mortuary chamber in the late 1640s and draws on the observations of John Greaves, author of the real Pyramidographia: A Study of the Pyramids of Aegypt (1646) to inspire his own travelogue published in 1650. 13 Van Huyn is followed by English ‘Egyptologists’ Trelawny and Corbeck who, literate in hieroglyphs, make Tera's mummy and tomb their life's work. Tethered to 2500 bce , when female sovereignty was the exception rather than the norm, and awaiting in a death-sleep her

in Victorian literary culture and ancient Egypt
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Veep, Homeland, and Scandal
Elisabeth Bronfen

her husband. If Henry’s death was to be tantamount to the removal of the royal succession from her son, she now declares, ‘Off with the crown, and with the crown, his head’. 30 In the brief time left, York responds by returning her callousness in kind, calling her a ‘she-wolf of France’, an ‘Amazonian trull’, and ‘false Frenchwoman’. What makes her most monstrous in his eyes, however, articulates a larger anxiety about female sovereignty. To him, she is a rogue because she has strayed from proper womanhood. Women, he claims, ‘are soft, mild, pitiful and flexible

in Serial Shakespeare
Susan Frye

. 122; Susan Frye, ‘Specters of female sovereignty in Shakespeare’s plays’, in The Oxford Handbooks of Shakespeare and Embodiment: Gender, Sexuality, and Race, edited by Valerie Traub (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 112–30. 178 Bess of Hardwick: new perspectives 15 Jerry Brotton, The Sultan and the Queen: The Untold Story of Elizabeth and Islam (New York: Viking, 2016), pp. 1–11. 16 For example, Lisa Jardine and Jerry Brotton, Global Interests: Renaissance Art Between East and West (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000); Debra Johanyak and Walter

in Bess of Hardwick
Open Access (free)
Mandy Merck

sovereign’s natural body and persists in the body political, guaranteeing the institution’s immortality. 9 As a female monarch, Elizabeth I was constituted by a normatively masculine symbolic body and a feminine natural one, a duality that is also marked in the relations of gender to power in her cinematic representation. Addressing the conflict between private person and public persona particular to female sovereignty, Elisabeth

in The British monarchy on screen
Emma L. E. Rees

the 'dialogue between utopian writing and genre theory' see Lilley, 'Blazing Worlds', pp. 102-5 (p. 103). Lilley also separates 'utopian writing' from 'the notoriously unstable notion of a utopia proper'. Ibid., pp. 104-5. Rogers argues that an 'acknowledgment of the limitations besetting the separate sphere of female sovereignty is nowhere voiced so clearly as in The Blazing World'. Rogers, p. 207. Cavendish, The Blazing World, p. 140. On such realisation of fantasies, especially in relation to The Blazing World and the plays, see Payne. Cavendish, The Blazing

in Margaret Cavendish