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Roman Women Centre Stage: Review of D. Dutsch, S.L. James, D. Konstan (edd.) Women in Roman Republican Drama. Pp. viii + 260. Madison, WI and London: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2015. Paper, US$55. ISBN: 978-0-299-30314-3.
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies. (UGPS)
2016 (English)In: Classical Review, ISSN 0009-840X, E-ISSN 1464-3561, 1-3 p.Article, book review (Refereed) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. 1-3 p.
Keyword [en]
Rome, Roman, Republic, Latin, gender, women, drama, stage, comedy, tragedy, subaltern, citizens, slavery, slaves, reception
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Research subject
Classical Archaeology and Ancient History
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-120167DOI: 10.1017/S0009840X1600041XOAI: diva2:926970

Female slaves and citizens were actively engaged with and reflected in Roman Republican drama, as the Plautine narrator reveals in the prologue to the Poenulus (Plaut. Poen. 28–35). Contra that narrator’s censorious instructions, this volume amplifies and vivifies the female voices within Roman drama, providing vital gender perspectives into the fabulae palliatae, togatae, crepidatae and praetextae. It comprises an introduction, eleven essays in three sections, and concludes with a brief index. The three sections, ‘Females in Performance’, ‘Women in Roman Drama and Society’ and ‘Receptions’, cover the staging of women, their depiction and its socio-historical context, and their afterlife in the plays of Machiavelli, Shakespeare and Silva. The editors avow that ‘drama at Rome was a cultural practice located within Roman festivals, sponsored by Roman officials, played by Roman actors, and enjoyed by Roman audiences’ and that ‘Latin plays were written for audiences whose gender perspectives and expectations were shaped by life in Rome and its environs’ (p. 5); these premises are soundly defended within this volume as they have been elsewhere (e.g. in G. Manuwald, Roman Republican Theatre [2011]). Their stated goals are to provide ‘resources to students and teachers’ of Roman drama, as well as to ‘bring attention generally to the crucial roles of women on the Roman stage’ (p. 8): this they accomplish with vim and vigour.

Available from: 2016-05-10 Created: 2016-05-10 Last updated: 2016-05-10

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