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date: 21 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The early modern period inherited and recirculated striking stories of women whom we would now call victims of rape: Lucrece, Philomela, Virginia, to name but a few of the most prominent. These stories were repeated in poems, in plays, in tapestries and samplers, their classical origins enhancing their cultural authority. ‘Interrupting the Lucrece Effect: The Performance of Rape on the Early Modern Stage’ compares possibilities for feminist stagings of rape narratives in Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus and Heywood’s The Tragedy of Lucrece. The essay argues that performance can variously cover over or critique the pernicious ideologies that permeate familiar early modern tales of rape and considers what a feminist performance practice hopes to achieve in staging rape stories and the different ways practitioners have used the resources of the theatre to achieve their goals.

Keywords: rape, agency, song, Lucrece, Philomela, Virginia, Rome, exceptionality

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