restricted access Colonial Women: Race and Culture in Stuart Drama by Heidi Hutner (review)
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187 and Bracegirdle’s bodies were ‘‘read’’on and off stage; 2) how female identity, which was ‘‘inextricably linked to the body,’’ related to female desire; and 3) what extra-theatrical discourses implied about women. Cultural identity is defined by ‘‘monsters ,’’ including giants, dwarfs, crossdressers , rapists, and their victims. Behn, Shadwell, and Nicholas Brady, in The Rape (1692), fulfilled the increasing demand for such figures, particularly raped women. More important, the monsters depicted in Pix’s Ibrahim and Manley’s Almyna fashion ‘‘a new, female heroic,’’ an ‘‘antithesis of the malevolentmonsters of violent sexual assault.’’ In writing about monsters that ‘‘breach boundaries, commit transgressions, and define the culture’s limits,’’ Pix and Manley made themselves into ‘‘monsters’’ in order to combat rape and the prurient commercial exploitation of it. Depictions of high-born, foreign, tragic characters influenced and were influenced by changing attitudes about race, gender, and national identity. Orrery’s characters in Mustapha are worthy ofemulation . Those in Behn’s Abdelazer and Dryden’s Don Sebastian are flawed, excessive , and grotesque. Dignified and princely, the titlecharacterofSoutherne’s Oroonoko must die because a noble black man ‘‘presents a powerful danger to the smooth workings’’ of colonialism, especially when his lover is a white woman. While the self-made title character of Rowe’s Tamerlane is moderate and ‘‘profoundly influenced by bourgeois sensibilities and Whig politics,’’ his antagonist , the aristocratic Turk Bajazet, is extreme, vile, and prone to acts of violence , including rape. While Ms. Lowenthal’s conclusions leave us much where we began (‘‘Restoration playwrights explored and often attempted to contain the performance of new identities’’), her explorations and juxtapositions prove useful and productive . Don-John Dugas Towson University HEIDI HUTNER. Colonial Women: Race and Culture in Stuart Drama. New York: Oxford, 2001. Pp. viii ⫹ 141. $35. Ms. Hutner’s analysis reads well, but is scholarly and historical in the mostlimited sense. That John Downes, John Genest, Alfred Harbage, Leslie Hotson , Robert Hume, Leo Hughes, Arthur Kirsch, Nancy Maguire, and Gunnar Sorelius would be absent from what islargely a study of English drama 1658–1689 (and particularly of Shakespeare adaptations and plays by Davenant, Dryden, and Behn) borders on the astonishing. Equally unsettling is the lack of methodology or justification for selecting ten plays from more than twelve hundred composed between 1611 and 1689. Ms. Hutner claims that ‘‘in the dramatic literature of the seventeenth century , English patriarchal culture attempts to define and, for English Royalists after 1660, restore itself over the body of the native woman or the European woman who has gone native.’’ She asserts that many Stuart playwrights regarded the domination and domestication of sexual and racial others as a way of stabilizing and uniting a divided England. Chapters One and Two offer gendered, postcolonial readingsoffiveseventeenthcentury versions of The Tempest from Shakespeare to Durfey’s A CommonWealth of Women. For Ms. Hutner, patriarchal authority is reestablished in preRestoration versions because female and native power and sexuality are ultimately contained; that they are not contained in 188 post-Restoration versions reveals that patriarchal authority was increasingly viewed as problematic and unstable. She does not consider that changes in genre, tone, performance (particularly the advent of the actress), and audience between 1610 and 1685 might also account for the considerable differences between pre- and post-Restoration versions. Dryden and Howard’s The Indian Queen and Dryden’s The Indian Emperour ‘‘appropriate Indian culture as a strategy for overcoming political and ideological instability in England.’’ Ms. Hutner argues that the central conflicts in these plays (competing forms of royal authority and Old World vs. NewWorld)are ‘‘enacted symbolically as a fight over the [noble native] female body.’’She perceptively suggests that Davenant’s The Cruelty of the Spaniardsin Peruand SirFrancis Drake may have influenced Dryden and Howard’s depictions of Spanish colonialism . Behn’s The Widow Ranter differs from the others analyzed for two reasons.Behn examines ‘‘the complex interrelationship of white and native women, and the oppression of women in general in a colonial context.’’ And, while Behn’s accounts of the New World also attempt‘‘to resolve England’s turbulent politics,’’ they depict a world ‘‘already fallen . . . inaccessible . . . and contaminated by . . . greedy white colonialists.’’ Statements such as ‘‘the...