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 detail which 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 patriarchal Christendom. 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
also pertained to non-Christians or `the Orient', which is often portrayed as analogous with the feminine.
`Colvin's book is perhaps the most critically sophisticated monograph to appear in the field of early modern German literature.'
Marian R. Sperberg-McQueen, Theatre Research Int. Vol. 25, No.2.
`Her insights are important for students of theater and opera; perhaps more importantly, they can be carried over to other genres and problem areas.'
Marian R. Sperberg-McQueen, Theatre Research Int. Vol.25, No.2.
`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.
Introduction: Men, Rhetoric, and the Stage
Note on Terminology and Orthography
1: The Rhetorical Feminine: (i) Women and Muslims in the Literary Imagination
2: The Rhetorical Feminine: (ii) Separating the Women from the Boys
3: Reading the Signs: Rhetorical loci and the Stage Semiotics
4: Persuasive Sounds: The Rhetoric of Words and Music
5: Persuasive Laughter: Carnival, Theatre, and Control
Conclusion: Theatre and the Rhetoric of Otherness
Series: Oxford Modern Languages and Literature Monographs
Number Of Pages: 342
Published: 1st October 1999
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.23 x 13.97
Weight (kg): 0.5