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Sometime scholar, and mother of one, in Sydney. Also writes for Eastside Radio. My own blog is Unemployed academic: will teach for food.

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  1. Lauredhel
    Lauredhel at | *

    I feel like The Bard And The Shrew has a bit more short-title punch.
    The Bard and The Shrew: Unruly [or Wayward, or Defiant, or Disruptive] Women on Shakespeare’s Stage?

  2. Mindy
    Mindy at |

    The Turning of the Shrew: Shakespeare’s representations of Women.

  3. Tamara
    Tamara at |

    Cover picture of a shrew? /ducks/

  4. Lauredhel
    Lauredhel at | *

    Can I ask a question that might help guide? What’s your unique point of difference from all the other books about unruly women in Shakespeare?

  5. orlando
    orlando at |

    @Tamara: It’s been done!

    Lauredhel, while there are a few books out there on female characters in Shakespeare, none of them actually distinguish the shrew as a theatrical conventional type (like the tyrant, the lover or the clown), so they are usually a grab of several characters the author was interested in without unifying characteristics. Penny Gay’s book, for example, which is the closest to mine, looks at Kate, Beatrice and Isabella (who are in my book), but also Rosalind and Viola, who are definitely not shrews because they use male disguise to make their public voices acceptable. I am looking at characters whose speech is censured by someone within the play, to see whether modern productions seem to come down on the side of the censure or on the side of the woman.

    Also, most books that have dealt with modern performance of specific characters in Shakespeare tend to focus heavily on the RSC. Mine is very global, with productions from Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and North America as well as Britain.

    tigtog – what an amazing thing for that bird to land on that sculpture.

    And yes, I am going to be checking this page obsessively.

  6. Li
    Li at |

    To draw on a line by Petruchio:

    “A Woman’s Tongue: Performing Shakespeare’s Shrews.”

    But that’s also because I enjoy a bit of alliteration.

    Or, as a very minor variation on your working title:

    “Shakespeare’s Shrews: Performing the Transgressive Female Voice”

  7. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    I was wondering whether perhaps “Lips of Scorn” (or ‘Scornful Lips’), playing on Richard III Act I, Scene ii (that fascinatingly awful scene where Richard befuddles Lady Anne after her distinctly shrewish responses to him):

    Teach not thy lip such scorn, for it was made
    For kissing, lady, not for such contempt.

    For me, it rather sums up the reprimand directed at all the unruly shrews.

  8. Feminist Avatar
    Feminist Avatar at |

    I liked Li’s ‘Shakespeare’s shrews’, so:

    ‘Woman, hold your tongue: performing Shakespeare’s Shrews on the International Stage’

    or ‘for a global audience’.

    ‘Hold your tongue’ is from Romeo and Juliet and directed at a woman, but the ‘woman’ is an addition for the benefit of the search engines. Reading you distinctive features I think emphasising the global/international perspective might be worthwhile.

  9. Lauredhel
    Lauredhel at | *

    orlando: So, the key points seem to be:

    – Shakespeare
    – unruly/transgressive
    – women/female voices
    – [but not exclusively “shrews”; cross-dressing characters also. Common thread women who are censured/scolded/rebuked in the text]
    – performance/stage/theatre
    – a global (Anglosphere-only?) and modern perspective

    I feel like there’s some wordplay to be made on the Globe Theatre/this being a global-perspective book, but I can’t quite grasp it.

  10. SunlessNick
    SunlessNick at |

    Reading you distinctive features I think emphasising the global/international perspective might be worthwhile.

    And the inclusion of a quote that’s not from the Taming of the Shrew emphasises the exploration a character type rather than a specific character.

  11. Erin
    Erin at |

    Taming Shakespeare: Modern Performances of the Early Modern Transgressive Female

  12. Maeve H
    Maeve H at |

    Admittedly a comedy option as I want to mull this one over…

    ‘Alas, I am a woman': Shakespeare’s shrews stand up

    I will come back with something proper later…

  13. TimT
    TimT at |

    The Shrew’s the Thing

  14. TimT
    TimT at |

    Much Ado about Shrew.

  15. TimT
    TimT at |

    Big Shrew Off.

    The Shrew’s Shakespeare.

    To Know the Shrew.

    Return of the Shrew.

  16. TimT
    TimT at |

    Oh yeah Mindy did the Henry James pun already.

  17. Mindy
    Mindy at |

    Did I? Is it still clever if you don’t realise you are doing it? #HenryJamesFAIL

  18. TimT
    TimT at |

    Maybe it’s even cleverer that way Mindy!

    To beshrew or not beshrew.

    Beatrice’s Revenge (okay, that’s more of a ‘Much Ado’ reference than a ‘Shrew’ one but I like it.)

    Fast running out of handy puns…

  19. orlando
    orlando at |

    Thanks for putting your back into it, Tim. Beshrew is indeed a great word. I thought Mindy was making a Turn of the Screw joke, too.

    Have already had What Shrew is That? offered elsewhere.

    I actually began with “Shakespeare’s Shrews”, but decided I liked that “Shakespeare and the Shrew” suggested a relationship rather than ownership.

    I’m pretty seduced by “lips of scorn”.

    Just to clarify, Lauredhel, I’m not including the cross dressers (that was Penny Gay’s book), or a few others that people might expect, for various reasons that mean they fall outside the bounds of what really constitute a shrew (lots of grey areas exist). At the risk of being long-winded, I might just pop the full list up, in case it inspires anyone.

  20. orlando
    orlando at |

    Constance (King John); Kate Percy (Henry IV); Jeanne la Pucelle and Margaret d’Anjou (Henry VI and Richard III); Adriana (Comedy of Errors); Katherina (Taming); Beatrice (Much Ado); Goneril (King Lear); Emilia (Othello); Isabella (Measure for Measure); Marina (Pericles) and Paulina (Winter’s Tale).

    Hands up who knew that Shakespeare wrote Joan (Jeanne) of Arc into a play?

  21. Mindy
    Mindy at |

    I was making a Turn of the Screw joke, I just didn’t know where it came from. So I was actually being cleverer than I thought!

  22. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    Hands up who knew that Shakespeare wrote Joan (Jeanne) of Arc into a play?

    That would be me.

  23. Rayedish
    Rayedish at |

    Mindy: I missed the screw turns joke, and missed the Henry James joke and thought you were doing a play on current academic language, ala ‘the postmodern turn’, ‘the narrative turn’ etc. So bonus, it works on many levels:)

  24. TimT
    TimT at |

    I’m tipping TigTog’s ‘Lips of Scorn’ as the winner. Though of course I could be completely wrong…

  25. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    I’m glad Orlando likes it, Tim, but I’m not making a bet on it.

    Perhaps a modification for the full title: “Lips of Scorn: Performing Shakespeare’s Defiant Women”

  26. Mindy
    Mindy at |

    So Shrew Me: Shakespeare’s Portrayals of Strong Women

  27. Chally
    Chally at | *

    I’ve been playing around with the word shrewd for a few days: shrewd shrews, shrew’d, that sort of thing. Made into a shrew, and also astute. So I suggest Shrewd: Transgressive Women on Shakespeare’s Stage or Shrewd Shrews: Transgressive Female Voices on Shakespeare’s Stage, or either with the bits after the colons swapped around.

  28. orlando
    orlando at |

    Chally, I adore the simplicity of starting with one word, as you have, as academic titles are usually so cumbersome. There’s a great quote from Henry VI, which I’m using as the title for the chapter on shrews in the history plays, where a lord says “These women are shrewd tempters with their tongues.”

    I’m thinking about how the word “beshrew” could be used like “bewitch”. “That man needs a good beshrewing”, “I have been well beshrewd, and am the better for it.”

    Thank you all for loads of valuable input. I’m still not quite sure how the title will come out in the end, but I am ready to declare tigtog the winner of the book, partly because I like “lips of scorn”, but mainly because I see now that “defiant” is a much more accurate word for what I’m including than “transgressive”. The cross-dressers, and Lady Macbeth, and the Merry Wives of Windsor are all transgressive in one way or another, but the shrews are openly defiant of male authority, and that is what sets them apart.

  29. Chally
    Chally at | *

    *applause* Well done, tigtog, yours was my favourite.

  30. Mindy
    Mindy at |

    Yay Tigtog. Defiant is a great word. Lips of Scorn – you can’t even say it without feeling scornful. Or maybe that’s just me today.

  31. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    Thank you very much for the prize, orlando (so looking forward to reading the book!), but I think I must give joint credit to Lauredhel. She used “defiant” first when she asked for some ideas about the words to be playing around with.

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