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Imagining Cleopatra: Performing Gender and Power in Early Modern England (Arden Studies in Early Modern Drama)

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en Limba Engleză Hardback – 22 Aug 2019
Shakespeare's characterization of Cleopatra may dominate the collective consciousness, but he was only one of several 16th-century writers fascinated by the enigmatic queen of Egypt. Early modern conceptions of Cleopatra offer a rich, complex, and variable set of models for understanding the period's responses to race, female sovereignty, and classical antiquity. This interdisciplinary study investigates images of Cleopatra in the early modern period and examines how her story was mediated and used - from drawing lessons from history to being a symbol of female heroism. It draws on early historiographical works, political and philosophical treatises, coterie dramatic productions, and gender, race and performance studies, as well as evidence from material culture, to consider what was known and thought about Cleopatra in the period This book provides a new literary and cultural history of one of the world's most contested and politically-charged iconic female figures. It combines a close reading of literary and dramatic works with historical and political contexts, paying particular attention to the three major early modern Cleopatra plays: Mary Sidney's translation of Robert Garnier's Marc Antoine, Samuel Daniel's The Tragedie of Cleopatra, and Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. By examining these conflicting historical and fictional identities, Yasmin Arshad offers a diverse and ground-breaking study of Cleopatra's 'infinite variety'.
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ISBN-13: 9781350058965
ISBN-10: 1350058963
Pagini: 360
Ilustrații: 18 bw illus
Dimensiuni: 129 x 198 x 25 mm
Greutate: 0.48 kg
Editura: Bloomsbury Publishing
Colecția The Arden Shakespeare
Seria Arden Studies in Early Modern Drama

Locul publicării: London, United Kingdom


It provides an interdisciplinary approach to the subject of Cleopatra with regards to the fields of early modern dramatic and literary studies, gender and race studies, performance history, art history, biography and cultural history

Notă biografică

Yasmin Arshad has a PhD in English and an MA in Shakespeare in History from University College London, UK, where she is an honorary research associate. Her research interests include Renaissance literature; early modern women and their writing; connections between Renaissance portraiture and literature; and the political and literary uses of Taciteanism. In 2013, she produced Samuel Daniel's Tragedie of Cleopatra, the first such staging of the play in over four hundred years.


List of IllustrationsAcknowledgementsNote on Spelling and List of Abbreviations Introduction: Imagining Cleopatra 1. Sight of that face': Passion and Politics in Mary Sidney's Antonius 2. 'Twixt majestie confuz'd and miserie': Samuel Daniel's Tragedie of Cleopatra 3. 'Will yet this womans stubborne heart be woone?': Lady Anne Clifford and Daniel's Cleopatra 4. 'Then thus we have beheld': Staging Daniel's Cleopatra 5. 'She did make defect perfection': The Paradox and Variety of Shakespeare's Cleopatra6. Epilogue and Conclusion: Cleopatra after ShakespeareAppendix: The 'Cleopatra' Statue and the Poems at the Vatican NotesBibliographyIndex


Yasmin Arshad's account of how and why Cleopatra mattered to Shakespeare's contemporaries is the finest book on the subject. Arshad offers a superb guide to the ways in which Cleopatra was portrayed in the drama of Mary Sidney, Samuel Daniel and Shakespeare. And her fascinating account of a Jacobean portrait, almost surely of Lady Anne Clifford in the guise of Cleopatra, is itself a major contribution to the field. Imagining Cleopatra is an impressive study, one that will be of great value to anyone interested in Elizabethan attitudes towards race, beauty, and the performance of power.
A riveting account of imaginative responses to the mesmerising figure of Cleopatra in the Age of Shakespeare. Yasmin Arshad casts her net widely to encompass Cleopatra's '"infinite variety" and "strong toil of grace", to borrow Shakespeare's words, notably in the Senecan closet dramas of Mary Sidney and Samuel Daniel. The intellectual detective work that underpins this rich study - for example in its probing discussion of links between Daniel's Cleopatra, Lady Anne Clifford, and a tantalising Cleopatra painting of the period - constitutes research of the first order. Dr Arshad's elegant prose, intellectual acuity and sound scholarship rise magnificently to the challenges of imagining the most famous queen in history. In Imagining Cleopatra Yasmin Arshad writes excitingly about great literature without denting its freshness and vibrancy.
History's most compelling queen is brought to life in this ground-breaking interdisciplinary study by Yasmin Arshad. Shakespeare, the early modern theatre, art history, and gender and race studies are woven together with a spellbinding deftness which - much like the allure of the book's subject - keeps the reader entranced till the very end. Revitalising Shakespeare's Cleopatra, Arshad's richly researched account changes our view of the Egyptian queen by giving us a more complete picture of the ways in which her image was refigured in discourses of women and power, appropriated for political ends, and mobilised by playwrights, artists, philosophers and historiographers as they re-imagined England's dialogue with the classical past. Imagining Cleopatra will surely quickly acquire canonical status as one of the most important and essential works on the controversial and incomparable Queen Cleopatra.