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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.

Open Access (free)
Gender and narrative in the postcolonial nation
Author: Elleke Boehmer

Why is the nation in a post-colonial world so often seen as a motherland? This study explores the relationship between gender icons and foundational fictions of the nation in different post-colonial spaces. The author's work on the intersections between independence, nationalism and gender has already proved canonical in the field. This book combines her keynote essays on the mother figure and the post-colonial nation with new work on male autobiography, ‘daughter’ writers, the colonial body, the trauma of the post-colony and the nation in a transnational context. Focusing on Africa as well as South Asia, and sexuality as well as gender, the author offers close readings of writers ranging from Chinua Achebe, Ben Okri and Nelson Mandela to Arundhati Roy and Yvonne Vera, shaping these into a critical engagement with theorists of the nation such as Fredric Jameson and Partha Chatterjee. Moving beyond cynical deconstructions of the post-colony, the book mounts a reassessment of the post-colonial nation as a site of potential empowerment, as a ‘paradoxical refuge’ in a globalised world. It acts on its own impassioned argument that post-colonial and nation-state studies address substantively issues hitherto raised chiefly within international feminism.

Felicity Dunworth

in pre-Reformation England to show that, by the beginning of the fifteenth century, motherhood had accumulated a complex range of meanings that had already become established as dramatic tradition. This multiplicity of meanings ensured that motherhood developed as an important trope in the polemical strategies of religious and political reform in England. The dramatic deployment of the mother figure in Catholic theatre and its appropriation by

in Mothers and meaning on the early modern English stage
Abstract only
Felicity Dunworth

and political change. The approach has been thematic: to discover how far genre and convention influence representation; and teleological: to test the potential of the mother figure to change over time in response to shifts in cultural and social values. While the aim was never to describe a steady change over the hundred years from the first quarter of the sixteenth century, this book has argued that the religious conflict of the English

in Mothers and meaning on the early modern English stage
Felicity Dunworth

illusion, where the world is at once valued and devalued … [T]he gulf between reality and illusion cannot be bridged: theatre now knows itself to be theatre’. 24 It is a tenet of this book that the allegory embedded in the dramatised mother figure is crucial to determining her meaning. In Hamlet , as Adelman points out, the traditional duality is fundamental to the hero’s construction of his mother: ‘The alternatives that

in Mothers and meaning on the early modern English stage
Felicity Dunworth

permanent than the deeds and lives of men and their rulers. 5 The effectiveness of the mother figure in history plays gained from the ways in which motherhood was presented in other discourses, including chronicles. The period saw a shift of emphasis in drama from theology to teleology, impelled in part by the changing preoccupations of an audience no longer so exercised by religious conflict (except in so far as it affected

in Mothers and meaning on the early modern English stage
Felicity Dunworth

for mothers in dramatic narratives and extended the range of potential meanings that the mother figure could offer. This range was well suited to the political drama that developed as a response to anxieties about the Elizabethan succession. Classical narratives, which so often detailed the collapse of royal families and the wreck of dynasties, offered useful models for persuading the queen of the need for a secure future

in Mothers and meaning on the early modern English stage
Abstract only
Felicity Dunworth

motherhood as instinctive and natural: as a given. 4 This continuity of meaning is essential to the construction of the mother figure in dramatic and other discourses from the second half of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries because it enables her to offer a consistent emotional focus throughout the political, religious and social changes of the period. If motherhood operates as a relatively unchanging idea, however, it is also

in Mothers and meaning on the early modern English stage
Author: Zoë Thomas

Women Art Workers constitutes the first comprehensive history of the network of women who worked at the heart of the English Arts and Crafts movement from the 1870s to the 1930s. Challenging the long-standing assumption that the Arts and Crafts simply revolved around celebrated male designers like William Morris, this book instead offers a new social and cultural account of the movement, which simultaneously reveals the breadth of the imprint of women art workers upon the making of modern society. Thomas provides unprecedented insight into how women – working in fields such as woodwork, textiles, sculpture, painting, and metalwork – navigated new authoritative roles as ‘art workers’ by asserting expertise across a range of interconnected cultures so often considered in isolation: from the artistic to the professional, intellectual, entrepreneurial, and domestic. Through examination of newly discovered institutional archives and private papers, and a wide range of unstudied advertisements, letters, manuals, photographs, and calling cards, Women Art Workers elucidates the critical importance of the spaces around which women conceptualised alternative creative and professional lifestyles: guild halls, exhibitions, homes, studios, workshops, and the cityscape. Shattering the traditional periodisation of the movement as ‘Victorian’, this research reveals that the early twentieth century was a critical juncture at which women art workers became ever more confident in promoting their own vision of the Arts and Crafts. Shaped by their precarious gendered positions, they opened up the movement to a wider range of social backgrounds and interests, and redirected the movement’s radical potential into contemporary women-centred causes.

Rethinking art, media, and the audio-visual contract
Author: Ming-Yuen S. Ma

There is no soundtrack is a specific yet expansive study of sound tactics deployed in experimental media art today. It analyses how audio and visual elements interact and produce meaning, drawing from works by contemporary media artists ranging from Chantal Akerman, to Nam June Paik, to Tanya Tagaq. It then links these analyses to discussions on silence, voice, noise, listening, the soundscape, and other key ideas in sound studies. In making these connections, the book argues that experimental media art – avant-garde film, video art, performance, installation, and hybrid forms – produces radical and new audio-visual relationships that challenge and destabilize the visually-dominated fields of art history, contemporary art criticism, cinema and media studies, and cultural studies as well as the larger area of the human sciences. This book directly addresses what sound studies scholar Jonathan Sterne calls ‘visual hegemony’. It joins a growing body of interdisciplinary scholarship that is collectively sonifying the study of culture while defying the lack of diversity within the field by focusing on practitioners from transnational and diverse backgrounds. Therefore, the media artists discussed in this book are of interest to scholars and students who are exploring aurality in related disciplines including gender and feminist studies, queer studies, ethnic studies, postcolonial studies, urban studies, environmental analysis, and architecture. As such, There Is No Soundtrack makes meaningful connections between previously disconnected bodies of scholarship to build new, more complex and reverberating frameworks for the study of art, media, and sound.