• Gertrude/Ophelia: Feminist Intermediality, Ekphrasis, and Tenderness in _Hamlet_

    Sujata Iyengar (see profile)
    CLCS Renaissance and Early Modern, LLC Shakespeare
    Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616, Literature--Adaptations, Feminism and art, History, Editing, Art
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Shakespeare, Shakespeare in adaptation, Feminist art history, Textual editing, Art history
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    This essay argues that feminists can productively use theories of intermediality to consider postmodern representations of Shakespeare's Ophelia fabricated by women (or by creators self-identified as female, in the case of online avatars), in order to explore the following questions: under what circumstances might we imagine femininity as essential, constructed, or contingent and in between? Can the subject of an artwork express a kind of selfhood or is such a subject invariably objectified through being turned into art? Can artists' ironic use of sexist tropes interrogate such tropes without reinforcing them? The figure of Ophelia in some of the artworks produced does seem to give women and girls explicitly feminist avenues for self-expression and self-realization: they present Ophelia as self-creating artist, not just as artifact. Other incarnations of this character, however — because of the material contexts in which they are created and disseminated — reiterate the voyeurism that earlier critics found in Gertrude's elegy on the drowned Ophelia. The essay reconsiders Gertrude's speech through its textual variants to find spaces for tenderness and interactivity between Gertrude and Ophelia, spaces that attest to the complex, non-binary solutions available to women artists as they seek to represent themselves and each other in their arts.
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    5 years ago
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