Outside the doll's house : a study in images of women in English and French theatre, 1848-1914
Aston, Elaine (1987) Outside the doll's house : a study in images of women in English and French theatre, 1848-1914. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
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Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1452036~S1
The aim of the thesis is to document images of women in English and French
theatre, between 1848 and 1914, which challenged the stereotypical image of women
as passive wives and mothers in the'doll's house!
The methodologies employed are not restricted to dramatic criticism, but draw
upon a udder net of feminism, semiotics, and social history, in order to place the
plays, roles and actresses in the theatre of their time. As a comparative study,
it documents interchange, interaction and difference, between the theatre of England
The images are divided into three groups, viz., the 'female outcast', the 'third
sex' and 'revolting women'. Section one documents a range of femme fatale images,
including the courtisane; the Magdalen; Cleopatra, the royal seducer: Medea, the
outcast queen, and the dangerous women of melodrama.
The second section begins with studies of the male impersonators of music
hall, notably Vesta Tilley, and the principal boys of Victorian and Edwardian pantomime.
Male impersonation on the 'serious' stage is then considered, in a study of actresses
in the cross-dressing role of Shakespeare's Rosalind, and Bernhardt's travesti roles,
in particular her Hamlet.
The third section considers the révolt6e of the social drama, and debate
surrounding the rationale of motherhood, and the hostile reactions to the issues
of abortion and infanticide. A chapter on Manchester's Gaiety theatre indicates
the importance of the 'new theatres' in providing a udder and more realistic, representation
of women, while the final study examines drama which portrayed the difficulties
for women trying to survive independently of men, indicating the economic disadvantages
and prejudices which drove many women into prostitution.
Overall, the three groups of images represent three strategies for power and
their success and failure is indicated and assessed. The capacity of theatre for
social debate is highlighted, and the contribution of women in the creation of radical
images is re-evaluated, thereby making a significant contribution to women's studies
and to nineteenth century theatre studies.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Women in the theater -- England -- History -- 19th century, Women in the theater -- France -- History -- 19th century|
|Official Date:||March 1987|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies|
|Supervisor(s)/Advisor:||Bassnett, Susan ; Stokes, John, 1943-|
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