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Dear readers.

Dear Readers,

It is a particular pleasure to introduce Volume 31 (2012), "Shakespeare's Female Icons," featuring an essay section guest edited by Francesca Royster of DePaul University. Drawing from a 2010 Shakespeare Association of America seminar, this section and the issue as a whole examine the ways in which female icons continue to transform the cultural value of Shakespeare.

Professor Royster's introduction theorizes the significance of Shakespeare's female icons for contemporary discussions of gender, race, and power. Natalie Loper analyzes the celebrity presence of the former teen icon Julia Stiles and the way that her "real-life" personae inform our perceptions of her Ophelia, while Dee Anna Phares offers an alternate perspective on Stiles, calling attention to the visuality and lack of vocality of her Desi in the film O. Challenging the premise that icons are necessarily visual, Kendra Leonard focuses on the musical score of Kenneth Branagh's As You Like It. Niamh O'Leary charts the dynamic new perspective on Hamlet's enigmatic Gertrude offered by Feng Xiaogang's The Banquet, and Catherine Thomas studies the varied representations of another highly ambivalent icon, Lady Macbeth, in recent graphic novels. Coming full circle, Royster returns to the icon as postmodern celebrity as she juxtaposes the public reception of Condoleezza Rice to Shakespeare's Cleopatra, a raced, gendered agent and receptacle of fantasy. At the end, Ayanna Thompson reflects on the relational status of the icon, suggesting that this collection demonstrates the extent to which "These icons have lives that accrue meaning through repetition, revision, and restaging."

Our performance reviews examine current theatrical embodiments of Shakespeare's female icons. From the failure of the Globe Theatre to confront Katherina's iconicity to Seana McKenna's Richard III at Canada's Stratford Festival, our reviews cover some of the most noteworthy productions of the past two years, including the New York Public Theater's As You Like It and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The book review section, edited by Professor Will Stockton, addresses recent titles which are germane to this special issue. Featured are a new edited collection on Elizabeth I and Kathryn Schwarz's What You Will, as well as books by Stephen Greenblatt, James Stone, Philip Davis, and edited collections by James Schiffer, and Randall Martin and Katherine Scheil.

It has been a privilege to serve as editor of The Upstart Crow for the past eight years. In spirit, the journal will be reborn under the editorship of my colleague, Will Stockton, as an online, open access journal entitled Upstart: A Journal of English Renaissance Studies, independent of the university press The new journal will feature work on Renaissance and early modern literature studies including Shakespeare and will strive particularly to publish the work of younger and emerging scholars, though it will continue to welcome the work of more established scholars, as well. Will and I hope you will support Upstart by sending us your submissions, recommending us to others, and most of all, reading our content. Vol. 1, which will feature a cluster of essays addressing the question "Is Shakespeare Our Only Contemporary?" and will go live in the coming months. See p. 164 (below) for more details.

Elizabeth Rivlin, Editor

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Title Annotation:on William Shakespeare's female icons
Author:Rivlin, Elizabeth
Publication:The Upstart Crow
Article Type:Column
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2012
Words:521
Previous Article:Kenneth J. E. Graham and Philip D. Collington (eds.), Shakespeare and Religious Change.
Next Article:Introduction to "Shakespeare's female icons": sorcerers, celebrities, aliens, and upstarts.
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