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Spectacle, Performance and New Femininities in the Plays of Suffrage Playwrights between 1907 and 1914.

Kavak, Enes (2014) Spectacle, Performance and New Femininities in the Plays of Suffrage Playwrights between 1907 and 1914. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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This thesis examines plays written by four playwrights in the context of Edwardian suffragism between 1907 and 1914. It aims to demonstrate that suffrage drama is much more versatile in its subjects, representations of women and dramatic strategies than previously thought. It argues that suffrage plays were not only an imitation of Edwardian social drama with a political message. Instead, it suggests that suffrage playwrights exploited a large variety of sources and strategies in the construction of their female characters and plots. To do so, they appropriated theatrical and dramatic strategies of popular theatre genres of the Edwardian age such as melodramas, musical comedies, tableaux vivants, history plays and farces. The method used in this thesis is first to look at the play structures and textual representations of femininities constructed in these plays. Second, the play is analysed through its text, photographs and illustrations produced about the production or in relation to the construction of female characters. Third, representational strategies used in the stage performances are examined whenever there is available information. Finally, the plays’ success is assessed by interpreting their critical and popular reception. This thesis is divided into four chapters. These chapters explore plays written by four dramatists: Elizabeth Robins, Cicely Hamilton, Christopher St John and George Bernard Shaw. In examining and identifying these playwrights’ strategies and representations of femininities, archival sources such as manuscripts, production bills, leaflets, photographs, newspaper articles and reviews published during Edwardian age have frequently been used as complementary and contextual materials. The principal collections, archival materials from which have been used in this study, are British Library Manuscripts and Ellen Terry Collection, Victoria & Albert Museum Theatre and Performance Collections, and The Women’s Library Collections in London.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Edwardian theatre, suffrage, women's drama, femininities
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts (Leeds) > School of English (Leeds)
Depositing User: Dr Enes Kavak
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2015 12:54
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2015 12:54
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9370

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