The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1410 Friday, 24 May 2002
Date: Thursday, 23 May 2002 14:17:31 -0300
Subject: 13.1401 Re: Conspicuous Silence
Comment: Re: SHK 13.1401 Re: Conspicuous Silence
My own silence becoming conspicuous (like that of many "lurkers"), I
shall break it to announce that my book, *"A Moving Rhetoricke": Gender
and Silence in Early Modern England* is to be published next month by
Manchester University Press. Chapter 3 is devoted to the drama, and in
it I discuss *Coriolanus*, *Titus*, *Lear*, *Richard II* and the dumb
show in *Hamlet* as well as other non-Shakespearean plays such as
*Spanish Tragedy* and *The Faun.* Here is the publisher's blurb:
"The complex history of silence provides an important framework for
rethinking gender in early modern England and for challenging critical
approaches to it. Based on an investigation of a wide range of
contemporary sources, from domestic conduct guides to emblem books, this
study offers fresh perspectives on both culture and literature.
Traditionally a sign of impotence, eloquence or defiance, increasingly
associated with the inscrutable private subject, silence was an unstable
and contested site of meaning for early modern men and women alike.
Masculine silence frequently imitated feminine self-containment, whilst
feminine silence, a far from stable element in a triad of virtues
(chastity, silence and obedience), slid unmanageably from chastity to
desire, obedience to resistance.
Research into the fluid and multiple meanings of early modern silence
informs discussions of the drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries,
and of works produced by Early Modern women from Anne Askew to Mary
Wroth, who appropriated and reshaped the 'moving rhetoricke' of silence
to their own purposes." I welcome this discussion, having been obsessed
with this subject for well over a decade!
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