Liz Lochhead's drama

Harvie, Jennifer B. (1996) Liz Lochhead's drama. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis is an examination of Liz Lochhead's three published plays: Blood and Ice (1982), Dracula (1989), and Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off (1989). Each of these three plays deals centrally with a literary or historical pre-text: the life of Mary Shelley and the ideology of English Romanticism in Blood and Ice; Bram Stoker's novel Dracula and late-Victorian British ruling-class culture in Dracula; and sixteenth-century Scottish and English history in Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off. Given these dramatic emphases, the critical emphasis of this thesis is the plays' reassessment of their pre-texts, and particularly of those pre-texts' power to exercise and selectively to confer cultural authority.

The thesis argues that the plays critically re-cast their pre-texts, re-interpreting those texts and compelling audiences to do the same. Altering diegetic emphases, the plays emphasize and interrogate the perhaps dubious function of their pre-texts to narrate and legitimate certain cultural groups' dominance and others' subordination. And using narrative forms which contrast in significant ways with those of the pre-texts, the plays demonstrate alternative, less prescriptive narrative forms. The effect of these textual re-interpretations and alternative narrative forms to intervene in hegemonic operations of power is important not least because each of the pre-texts, in different ways, thematically and/or formally, is ostensibly committed to the "fair" distributed of power. Romanticism claims commitment to the liberation of humanity. The protagonists of Stoker's Dracula fight avowedly to protect the superiority of their "good" Western humanity over Dracula's "bad" Eastern monstrosity. And orthodox histories, including those of Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I of England, frequently function to absolve present communities' responsibility for their "closed" histories, but also for their histories' legacies, and, thus, for responsibility for the present.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies
Supervisor's Name: McDonald, Professor Jan and Cameron, Dr. Alasdair
Date of Award: 1996
Depositing User: Ms Mary Anne Meyering
Unique ID: glathesis:1996-5026
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2014 13:11
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2014 08:55

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