Thalia's Daughters

A weblog for English 6365: Women Onstage in the Long Eighteenth Century, at UNB.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Reading your posts,

I am struck by a couple of thoughts. First, though this play has variously been described as "humane" and "laughing" and whatnot, we have some unsettling elements: quasi-incestuous abuse of power; verbal abuse and harsh confinement; physical violence; a heroine who frequently alludes to suicide. I can't help thinking of all the different stagings one might choose.

Some of you have written approvingly of Centlivre's writing. Specifically, of its relative seamlessness, it's structural unity. I don't disagree, but I am intrigued by the relationship between these perceived qualities of the play, and it disparate strains, the one comic and the other dark. Kari writes, in her discussion of taglines, that perhaps this play needs "smoothing out" for current audiences. But it would appear, for some of you, at least, that it is already "smooth." My question is, how?

In case you don't have enough to read

here is a post from The Valve (skim over the head-butting in some of the comments) about Gregory Colón Semenza’s book, Graduate Study for the Twenty-first Century: How to Build An Academic Career in the Humanities. Focused on the situation in the U.S., but probably worth a read nonetheless.


has had a bad week. But they say they are on it. I hope no-one has been too frustrated.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Robert Moore

will be reading from his new collection of poetry at UNBSJ this Friday evening. As he is on faculty in SJ, those of you doing Creative Writing degrees who have not yet put together full committees, in particular, may be interested in checking it out.

He is a marvellous reader, so please consider making the trip.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Neither Aristotle nor Plato

it was Horace who said that literature ought to "teach and delight."

(re. our discussion yesterday)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Blogging for grad students

or "gradual students," as one of my friends used to tease me when I was going through my programme.

Here is a post that discusses professionalization as one reason that graduate students might blog.

Some grad students' blogs:
As well as Scot Barnett's schizzes and flows, there are
The Long Eighteenth (Carrie Shanafelt, the founder, is a grad student, as are some of the other participants. Carrie is also one of the three authors of 18th-Century Reading Room)
Kari Krause at accidentals and substantives recently defended.
The anonymous White Bear is a grad student.
Scott Eric Kaufman at Acephalous and The Valve
Sharon Howard began blogging as a doctoral student, though she defended a couple of years ago now. (There are several people who were in grad school when I started reading them, who are now finished and still blogging.)
Kristine Steenbergh is a doctoral student.
Kristine Brorson at Historiological Notes
Amanda Watson at Household Opera is studying for her MSLIS.
Brandon Watson recently defending his doctorate in Philosophy.
Julie Meloni at No Fancy Name
Daily Reads and Random Thoughts

And, some local talent: A Ratboy's Notebook, Mr. Kong's Parlour,
Anne Ryan's Familiar Letters, and former UNB student Andrea L.'s Letters from the Rock.

This is very partial; a taste, more than a list. (Anyone stopping by, feel free to add blogs in the comments. And, bloggers, I have only used your full name if it is readily accessible on your blog, though I am happy to change or remove any of these citations).

Friday, October 13, 2006

Wikipedia articles

I just responded to a question from one of you via email and thought I would post to the whole group. The question was about the relationship between your entries and the existing entries. Most of you have probably checked the history of your entries, and in almost all cases there will be a multitude of authors listed. Think of what you are doing as a collaborative project: leave what works, rework what needs it, delete anything superfluous or erroneous, and add anything necessary.

Another of you asked about the rationale I asked for. Quoting myself,

Obviously there are strictures to what you can write, and to how you write; you need to follow Wikipedia policies and guidelines. You may address any issues (for example, material that you might post if you had your druthers, but which you cannot given the policies) in your proposal.

You may also comment on why you think your reworkings are necessary or desirable. Or, conversely, why the existing post does a reasonable job.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Wikipedia entries

Images are great, but remember that anything you post has to be demonstrably in the public domain.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Schedule

has been updated and the readings for the next two weeks, and some beyond that, are accessible for download. I will be on campus for a meeting this coming Friday and will put the new readings on reserve at HIL, so they should be available over the weekend (two copies of each, one of which can leave the library).

Hope you are all having fun with your Wikipedia entries; there is not much blogging about them. Any issues, consider throwing them out there.

Update: the materials were delivered to the library today (Friday).

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Mary Pix


There is not a lot of material on Mary Pix, either in print or online. Perhaps you could consider, in your blogging, why that might be? Why is it that Behn, Cavendish, and others are academic growth industries, while Pix is not?

Here is what I managed to dig up, after much too much time spent looking:

Mary Pix (1666-1709): some biographical information

The Spanish Wives (1696)
An acting version of The Beau Defeated (1700)
Restoration Theatre Song Archive, including songs from seven plays by Pix
The Restoration Comedy Project

Contemporary productions of Pix's plays:
Review of 1997 production of The Innocent Mistress
Info. and photos about a 1995 production of The Beau Defeated, by Pix.
Photos from a 2001 production

And, because of the paucity of the above:

Commentary on the theatre:
Excerpts from Jeremy Collier's A Short View of the Immorality, and Profaneness of the English Stage (London, 1698)
An Essay of Dramatick Poesie by John Dryden
An article by Richard Steele in The Spectator in which he comments on women playwrights

Some general links:
Restoration Theatre
The World of London Theatre, 1660-1800
Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Drama: images of theatres
Theatrical London, 1762 (map)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Biographical sources

Not sure how many of these we have at UNB, but this list might be useful for your biographical projects. And don't forget the Dictionary of National Biography, for which UNB has a licence. The Feminist Companion to Literature in English might also be of use; haven't checked Quest but I have a copy. I have the two Todd books mentioned on the list, as well.

Update: All but the last book on this list — and it looks excellent; I just ordered it for the library — are available at HIL, WCL, or both, as is The Feminist Companion.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Don't forget

that there is no class this coming Monday.

Enjoy the long weekend. The weather is supposed to be good!

Monday, October 02, 2006


Just back from reading the course blogs, and it seems clear that we are going to have an interesting discussion tomorrow!

Some concerns that emerge from the blogs:

• the role of projection in readings of this play: projections of what "ought" to happen, of what Behn's role ought to be. And the possible projections of the critics. (A good example of this latter: more than one critic has noted that Behn shares the same initials as Angelica Bianca, and has argued that the character is perhaps to some extent an avatar, or in some way representative of Behn and her attitudes. And yet as we have read, Behn inherited the name from Killigrew's Thomaso. A blatant example of careless scholarship, perhaps? But to play the devil's advocate: Behn changed most of the other characters' names, but kept Angelica's. So while the initials were a coincidence, perhaps the keeping of them was not.)

• to what extent is Behn complicit with the sexual violence she depicts? can we interpret this play as in any way subversive? (and how can we define "subversive" in a 17thc context?)

• the relationship between her attitude towards women's issues and her Royalist politics

• Behn's representation/critique/enforcement? of the "virgin/whore" dichotomy

Other points to consider:

• while some of you allude to social constraints on women, we also need to look at the constraints on Behn as a playwright, and as a woman playwright

• we need to consider the formal constraints of the genre of the Restoration comedy: what was possible, what wasn't. In some ways this was as highly patterned a form as, say, a haiku (okay, some might say a limerick. But the point still holds).

I would also like to discuss the relationship between the two plays: is Part II just a rehash with an alternate ending? What are we to think of La Nuche and her choices? Is she any sort of a role model? How do we interpret that fact that she "gets the guy"? We need to appreciate how unusual an ending it really is.