Cover image for Transforming Shakespeare : contemporary women's re-visions in literature and performance
Transforming Shakespeare : contemporary women's re-visions in literature and performance
Novy, Marianne, 1945-
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
264 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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PR2880.A1 T7 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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A surprisingly large number of women writers, directors, and performers have created works that talk back to Shakespeare, or to most earlier and more traditional interpretations of his plays, in the late twentieth century. For example, Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres, which rewrites King Lear, and Marina Warner's Indigo, which rewrites The Tempest, protest biases against women and racist and imperialist attitudes that Shakespeare's plays have come to symbolize. In this collection, feminist critics -- and Jane Smiley herself -- explore a range of such rewritings, as well as recent Shakespeare performances directed by women. The essays examine how these works use rewritings of Shakespeare to address issues of gender, race, sexuality, colonialism, environmentalism, class, and nationalism, as well as with the general question of our relation to cultural tradition at the start of the new millennium. Transforming Shakespeare offers a striking new look at Shakespeare and his place in a modern, diverseworld.

Author Notes

Marianne Novy is Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Through film, stage, the novel, and poetry, women are revisiting and reinterpreting Shakespeare from a distinctively feminist viewpoint. These well-written and accessible essays show how contemporary women subvert or expand upon his original texts, covering subjects as diverse as ecofeminism, colonialism, incest, and production styles. Novy (English, Univ. of Pittsburgh) makes a wonderful and unusual editorial decision in the extended and multifaceted interest given to the reinterpretation of King Lear in Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres (including two critical essays and a personal account from Smiley). Linda Bamber's chapter, "Claribel at Palace Dot Tunis," also works well within this collection as an example of a way in which a woman approaches the Shakespeare text as a writer of fiction and literary criticism, blending the concerns of this collection in theory and in practice. Recommended for academic libraries.√ĄKaren E. Sadowski, Simmons Coll., Boston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Novy (Univ. of Pittsburgh) gathers a varied and all-star cast (e.g., Barbara Hodgdon, Jane Smiley, Diana Brydon, Linda Bamber) to explore women's "re-visions" of Shakespeare. The contributors include women writers, directors, and performers, all questioning received interpretations of Shakespeare. In addition to gender issues, the contributors' concerns include "colonialism, race, class, nationalism, militarism, environmental issues, and sexuality." For example, Barbara Mathieson focuses on Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres (1991), a transformation of King Lear, and explores how nature impacts "human choices and acts." Francesca Royster discusses the appropriation of Cleopatra into the African American culture as seen in the black action film Cleopatra Jones (1973). Linda Bamber also presents a fictional retrospective by Miranda from The Tempest. Though some of these contributions have appeared previously, this collection of well-documented and well-written essays offers new visions of Shakespeare for the diverse, postmodern world and will be indispensable to all university libraries. Includes copious notes after each chapter. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. J. S. Carducci; Winona State University

Table of Contents

Marianne NovyBarbara HodgdonPenny GayPatricia LennoxMarianne NovyPeter EricksonFrancesca T. RoysterBarbara MathiesonIska AlterJane SmileySuzanne RaittDiana BrydonCaroline CakebreadLinda Bamber
Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introductionp. 1
1. Making it New: Katie Mitchell Refashions Shakespeare-Historyp. 13
2. Recent Australian Shrews: The "Larrikin Element"p. 35
3. A Girl's Got to Eat: Christine Edzard's Film of As You Like Itp. 51
4. Saving Desdemona and/or Ourselves: Plays by Ann-Marie MacDonald and Paula Vogelp. 67
5. Rita Dove's Shakespearesp. 87
6. Cleopatra as Diva: African-American Women and Shakespearean Tacticsp. 103
7. The Polluted Quarry: Nature and Body in A Thousand Acresp. 127
8. King Lear and A Thousand Acres: Gender, Genre, and the Revisionary Impulsep. 145
9. Shakespeare in Icelandp. 159
10. "Out of Shakespeare"?: Cordelia in Cat's Eyep. 181
11. Tempest Plainsong: Retuning Caliban's Cursep. 199
12. Sycorax Speaks: Marina Warner's Indigo and The Tempestp. 217
13. Claribel at Palace Dot Tunisp. 237
Contributorsp. 259
Indexp. 261