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Reviews35 1 Barbara Hodgdon. TheShakespeare Trade:Performances andAppropriations . Philadephia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998. Pp. xix + 306. $45.00 casebound, $19.95 paperbound The Shakespeare Trade is part of the New Cultural Studies series coming out of Pennsylvania's press, and it is a book that moves the analysis of the Shakespeare business into new areas of investigation as well as offering new ways to do it. Barbara Hodgdon ably combines attention to areas oftraditional cultural studies (film and artifacts, for example) with equally adroit readings of how particular performances of key plays by Shakespeare (usually since the early 1900s) have handled social, ideological issues like gender, race, and colonization . Hodgdon's treatment ofthese last three issues is especially interesting as she combines history of performances with reception theory, Lacanian approaches , and feminist readings, among others, to "open up a traffic between literary and theatrical cultures that resituates the study ofperformed Shakespeare within cultural studies" (xiii), thus offering readers both fresh insights on particular plays as well as a potentially significant way to think about how ideologies , or cultural "traffic," create the icon, Shakespeare. Hodgdon consistently investigates (re)situated-ness, the interplay created between sights and sites. After an introduction which situates herselfgeographically and intellectually in relation to literary and theatric cultures, Hodgdon turns to The Taming ofthe Shrew and tackles the issue of subject positions in literary responses and in performances to the play's sadistic treatment of Kate. Her reading starts with the 1908 silent film version, and she isolates a tendency throughout the last century to cast as the play's leads star couples—Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor—or imagined ones—Lilli and Fred in Kiss Me, Kate, Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis in Moonlighting—whose "doubled" lives for the audience participate in framing, and sometimes containing, as a "romp" or "farce" the play's violence towards women. The second chapter, against a backdrop of the O.J. Simpson murder trial, dissects made-for-TV Othellos—Janet Suzman's, made in South Africa, Trevor Nunn's British production, and Oliver Parker's 1995 film version—noting how all negotiate playing the "race card." Especially acute is Hodgdon's revelation ofreviewer's responses to these films wherein the various Othellos's speech patterns are measured against an imagined linguistic purity. Chapter 3 looks hard at Antony and Cleopatra, in particular performances which offered Orientalism and women's fashions up for audience consumption "made readable on Cleopatra's body" (75). Initially focusing on A. C. Bradley's perceptions that the play unsuccessfully mixes "high" and "low" culture, where "high" corresponds to Rome and Antony's interiority, "low" to Egypt and Cleopatra's appearances, Hodgdon reveals how, in the last century, the play has 352Comparative Drama reflected British and American desires for colonizing and marketing versions of"other" femaleness, whether marketed as Liz Taylor or the Egyptian Queen Barbie doll (both illustrated). This chapter also serves as Hodgdon's segue into the next, on the similar uses ofQueen Elizabeth I and her "fatal" romance with Essex, showing how Lytton Strachey's serialized version in Ladies HomeJournal of the aging Queen's supposed "love affair" is a locus for psychologizing and the "site for exploring the problematics ofpower located in a body coded exclusively by desire" (119). As with Cleopatra, capable of popping up anywhere once codified as consumable, Strachey's Elizabeth also is reproduced in films, operas, and BBC docu-dramas as well as, more subversively, in Sally Potter's Orlando and in Blackadder II. As with Cleopatra and Queen Elizabeth, so with Shakespeare: Chapters 5 and 6 turn to the role of shopping spectators in the creation of Shakespeare's cultural meanings, first through an analysis of Robert LePage's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and then through an extended reading of Stratford-on-Avon and the Shakespeare Trust. Eschewing performance criticism as too inclined to measure "immanent meanings" against theatric efforts (172), locating her own presence"in time" at a particular performance ofthe play, Hodgdon historicizes her own views while isolating in responses of other reviewers' (attending the same performance) assumptions inflected by a late Victorian "authentic" Shakespearean aesthetic presumed replicated in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 351-353
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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