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"What gay, vain, prating thing is this?”: Discourses of femininity in Thomas Shadwell’s adaptation of Timon of Athens.

Merchant, M.ORCID: 0000-0003-0923-1561 (2018) "What gay, vain, prating thing is this?”: Discourses of femininity in Thomas Shadwell’s adaptation of Timon of Athens. Outskirts online journal, 38 . pp. 1-17.

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Abstract

During the Restoration era (1660 to 1700), the plays of Shakespeare were routinely adapted in order to make them fit for the new stages and society in which they were being produced. Representations ‘femininity’ and ‘woman’ were re-negotiated following a tumultuous period in English history and the evidence of this can be seen in the Shakespearean adaptations. Theatrical depictions of women within the plays produced during this time drew on everyday discourses of femininity and were influenced by the new presence of professional actresses on the London stages. In a time before widespread literacy and access to multiple media platforms, the theatre served a didactic function as a site which could present “useful and instructive representations of human life" (as ordered by Charles II in his Letters Patent to the theatre companies in 1662). This paper argues that, on the stage, Restoration women were afforded three roles: gay, ideal or fallen. Each of these are evident within Thomas Shadwell’s adaptation of Timon of Athens.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: Creative Media, Arts and Design
Journal or Publication Title: Outskirts online journal
Page Range: pp. 1-17
Publisher: University of Western Australia
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/50116
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