Women Talk Back to Shakespeare
Contemporary Adaptations and Appropriations
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This study explores more recent adaptations published in the last decade whereby women—either authors or their characters—talk back to Shakespeare in a variety of new ways.
"Talking back to Shakespeare", a term common in intertextual discourse, is not a new phenomenon, particularly in literature. For centuries, women writers—novelists, playwrights, and poets—have responded to Shakespeare with inventive and often transgressive retellings of his work. Thus far, feminist scholarship has examined creative responses to Shakespeare by women writers through the late twentieth century. This book brings together the "then" of Shakespeare with the "now" of contemporary literature by examining how many of his plays have cultural currency in the present day. Adoption and surrogate childrearing; gender fluidity; global pandemics; imprisonment and criminal justice; the intersection of misogyny and racism—these are all pressing social and political concerns, but they are also issues that are central to Shakespeare’s plays and the early modern period.
By approaching material with a fresh interdisciplinary perspective, Women Talk Back to Shakespeare is an excellent tool for both scholars and students concerned with adaptation, women and gender, and intertextuality of Shakespeare’s plays.
Table of Contents
0. Introduction 1 Toni Morrison and Rokia Traoré’s Desdemona and William Shakespeare’s Othello 2. Elizabeth Nunez’s Prospero’s Daughter and William Shakespeare’s The Tempest 3. Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed and William Shakespeare’s The Tempest 4. Jeanette Winterson’s The Gap of Time and William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale 5. Mark Haddon’s The Porpoise and William Shakespeare’s Pericles 6. Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven and William Shakespeare’s King Lear 7. Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet and Shakespeare’s Family in Fact and Fiction
Jo Eldridge Carney is a Professor of English at The College of New Jersey where she teaches courses in early modern studies, folk and fairy tales, and contemporary literature.