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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: March ::
Is Cleopatra Black?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0511  Monday, 5 March 2001

From:           Richard Burt <
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Date:           Friday, 2 Mar 2001 15:55:04 -0500
Subject:        Is Cleopatra Black?

Is it now widely accepted among Shakespeareans that Shakespeare's
Cleopatra is black ("with Phoebus's amorous pinches black")?  M. Neill
and A. Little, Jr. assume that she is without question.  Janet Adelman
explored the question brilliantly but more tentatively in Appendix C of
The Common Liar.  If so, is this a development in academic criticism
only?  How recent is it?  Has stage practice followed suit?  Apart from
one Neil notes in South Africa, have there been any productions with
white actresses in black face or with black actresses as Cleopatra?

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