Women Reading Shakespeare, 1660-1900: An Anthology of Criticism
Ann Thompson, Sasha Roberts
Manchester University Press, 1997 - Literary Criticism - 283 pages
Women reading Shakespeare, 1660–1900 comprehensively rediscovers a lost tradition of women's writing on Shakespeare. Since Margaret Cavendish published the first critical essay on Shakespeare in 1664, women have written as scholars, critics, editors, performers and popularisers of Shakespeare. Many found in Shakespeare criticism the opportunity to raise a wide variety of issues, ranging from the use of women in society, family life, social relations and ethnic difference. In their different ways, women appropriated Shakespeare to their own ends – not always in step with their male contemporaries. Virtually none of this work is available today; it is unread and unknown. This fascinating anthology draws upon extensive new research to collect for the first time in one volume the Shakespeare criticism of some fifty British and American women writing before 1900. It includes the work of both familiar and unknown names and represents the diversity of literary genres used by women: the scholarly article, the periodical essay, book-length studies, personal memoirs, books for children, school editions. The volume also includes previously unknown Shakespeare illustrations by women, and a general introduction to the development of women's criticism of Shakespeare before 1900.
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