The Rhetorical Feminine: Gender and Orient on the German Stage, 1647-1742

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

bySarah Colvin

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The Rhetorical Feminine takes a fresh look at theatre - including the important new genre of opera - in early modern Germany. Central to this study is the relationship of the stage with ideas of order or social control. Early German school drama was designed to teach rhetoric to boys: a detailwhich has up to now been accepted by scholars without further questioning. This investigation focuses on how that rhetoric was used, with particular reference to ideas of the feminine and of the Islamic world. Both are constructed as the potentially threatening others of early modern patriarchalChristendom. In containing the threat, the stage becomes the controllable version of the early modern theatrum mundi. In opera, the dynamic of the text is supported by music. The author has found it necessary to cross the boundary of traditional literary scholarship by looking not only at the libretti, but also at the rhetoric of the score. The suggestion here is not that the construction of alterity is an isolated phenomenon in early modern Germany; men have always used their relative monopoly of the arts for self-definition. While feminist scholarship has tended to concentrate on the relevance of this for women, it has alsopertained to non-Christians or `the Orient', which is often portrayed as analogous with the feminine.

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The Rhetorical Feminine takes a fresh look at theatre - including the important new genre of opera - in early modern Germany. Central to this study is the relationship of the stage with ideas of order or social control. Early German school drama was designed to teach rhetoric to boys: a detailwhich has up to now been accepted by schola...

1990-92, Hanseatic Scholar, University of Hamburg; 1992-95, Senior Scholar, Christ Church Oxford; 1995-97, Junior Research Fellow, St John's College Oxford; 1997, Lecturer, University of Edinburgh

other books by Sarah Colvin

Format:HardcoverPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198186363

ISBN - 13:9780198186366

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Men, Rhetoric, and the StageNote on Terminology and Orthography1. The Rhetorical Feminine: (i) Women and Muslims in the Literary Imagination2. The Rhetorical Feminine: (ii) Separating the Women from the Boys3. Reading the Signs: Rhetorical loci and the Stage Semiotics4. Persuasive Sounds: The Rhetoric of Words and Music5. Persuasive Laughter: Carnival, Theatre, and ControlConclusion: Theatre and the Rhetoric of OthernessBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

`a book that will open the way for the great deal of work that still needs to be done on issues such as gender and race in this period.' Marian R. Sperberg-McQueen, Theatre Research Int., Vol.25, No.2.