Women on Stage in Stuart Drama
Women on Stage in Stuart Drama provides a 'prehistory' of the actress, filling an important gap in established accounts of how women came to perform in the Restoration theatre. Sophie Tomlinson uncovers and analyzes a revolution in theatrical discourse in response to the cultural innovations of two Stuart queens consort, Anna of Denmark and the French Henrietta Maria. Their appearances on stage in masques and pastoral drama engendered a new poetics of female performance, which registered acting as a powerful means of self-determination for women. The pressure of cultural change is inscribed in a plethora of dramatic texts that explore the imaginative possibilities inspired by female acting. These include plays by the key royalist women writers Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, and Katherine Philips. The material explored by Tomlinson illustrates a fresh vision of theatrical femininity and encompasses an unusually sympathetic interest in questions of female liberty and selfhood.
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Page 3 - I have heard of your paintings too, well enough ; God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another...
Page 6 - See here the reason of that which I touched before, — that women have no voice in Parliament. They make no laws, they consent to none, they abrogate none. All of them are understood either married or to be married, and their desires are to their husbands. I know no remedy, that some women can shift it well enough.
Page 13 - Cage, a comedy, which wanteth, I must confess, much of that ornament, which the stage and action lent it, for it comprehending also another play or interlude, personated by ladies, * I must refer to your imagination, the music, the songs, the dancing, and other varieties, which I know would have pleas'd you infinitely in the presentment.