Female Friendship Alliances in Shakespeare by Milinda Jay 0000-00-00 00:00:00

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by Milinda Jay
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Female Friendship Alliances in Shakespeare by Milinda Jay
Milinda Jay
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This book examines the importance of female friendship alliances in Shakespeare's plays and how such alliances affect those engaged in them as well as the community around them. Their value to individuals and to the broader community is demonstrated both by the presence of supportive interrelationships and by their absence. Focusing on A Comedy of Errors, The Winter’s Tale, Merry Wives of Windsor, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, Othello and Macbeth, I seek to reread and reappropriate Shakespeare as a proponent of women's affiliative groups and communities of women. In these plays, positive female alliances have an affirmative effect on the community around them; negative female alliances or females isolated from female friends or supportive female family structures, do not fare well, nor does their immediate community. My methodology is both feminist, in which I rely on the recent critical theories of Phyllis Rackin, among others, and psychological using the insights of Shelley Taylor and her research on the overall health insured by female friendships. While much recent literary criticism of Shakespeare has been relatively silent on Shakespeare’s privileging of women in community, contemporary directors of Shakespeare’s plays have not. I will therefore examine some of the ways that modern productions of Shakespeare have brought these elements of Shakespeare's work to the forefront as well as, in some cases, offering suggestions for bringing these issues to life on the stage.

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