Disentangling genre and gender

from title page of 'The Roaring Girl', 1611
Moll Cutpurse, from title page of ‘The Roaring Girl’, T. Dekker and T. Middleton, 1611

A  recent conference on “Genre and Gender” organized by research group IMAGER / UPEC was a great opportunity to reflect on these categories. The CFP stated some of the issues which would be discussed during the three-day conference:

What this conference proposes to discuss is the question of identity at the crossroads between sexual gender and literary genres. Indeed etymologically, the term genus covers two meanings to be found in the dictionary: one concerning origin and the other, category. Genus designates that which separates, divides, identifies and delimits. Continue reading Disentangling genre and gender

Stage or Scaffold?

My post on Mary Queen of Scots prompted me to think about why her case seems so dramatic, in the literal sense of the word, and why it gave rise to several theatrical adaptations. In this post, I’d like to provide one answer: Mary was executed on a scaffold and scaffolds were also among the first stages used for theatrical performances1. Contemporary accounts of her trial and execution are telling: both usually picture a square table or scaffold in the center, as if it were a stage in which was performed the final act of Mary’s tragedy. But the pictures themselves are more than just snapshots of a momentous episode of British history: they are actually built as plays with a narrative structure. Continue reading Stage or Scaffold?

  1. On the ‘théâtre de l’échafaud’, see Christian Biet, “Naissance sur l’échafaud ou la tragédie du début du XVIIe siècle“, in Intermédialités, n. 1, printemps 2003, p. 75-105, DOI : 10.7202/1005446ar, and Christian Biet et Charlotte Bouteille-Meister, Théâtre de la cruauté et récits sanglants en France: XVIe-XVIIe siècle, Paris, R. Laffont, 2006. []