© 2007

Early Modern Tragedy, Gender and Performance, 1984–2000

The Destined Livery

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Introduction: The Destined Livery? Tragedy, Performance, Subject and Spectator

  3. Realism and Reinscription

  4. Performance and Performativity

  5. Conclusion: Cultural Drag; or, Hamlet and Ophelia Redux

  6. Back Matter
    Pages 201-237

About this book


Using nine recent theatrical and cinematic productions as case studies, it considers the productive contradictions and tensions that occur when contemporary actors perform the gender norms of previous cultures. It will be of interest to theatre practitioners as well as to students of early modern drama, of performance, and of gender studies.


cinema gender gender studies Hamlet realism Research in English and American Literature theatre tragedy

About the authors

ROBERTA BARKER is Associate Professor of Theatre and Early Modern Studies at Dalhousie University/The University of King's College, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. She has published articles on the drama of Ford, Middleton, Shakespeare, Webster and Stoppard in performance, and has edited Common Conditions (1576) for the Malone Society.

Bibliographic information


'This sophisticated yet very readable study explores the impact of debates about gender on recent interpretations of early modern tragedy, on stage and celluloid. Roberta Barker uses her specialist knowledge of Renaissance culture and expertise in feminist theory to analyse how challenges to conventional gender roles have shaped a diverse range of key productions, from RSC stagings of The Duchess of Malfi and other Jacobean tragedies to Derek Jarman's Edward II . In the process, she presents a compelling new perspective on the demands of late twentieth-century theatre- or film-going that charts the different ways in which such productions appeal to the politically engaged spectator. Barker also demonstrates how these dramatic reengagements with early modern culture allude repeatedly to the disturbing fluidity of identity concealed behind the superficial destiny that is imposed by gender.' - Philippa Berry, Department of English, University of Bristol, UK