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Masquerading Early Modern Disability

Sexuality, Violence, and the Body (Politic) in Richard III

Lauren Coker

Building on Katherine Schaap Williams’s (2009) reading of the play, this article uses a disability studies approach to consider Richard Loncraine’s 1995 film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Richard III. Loncraine’s adaptation allows modern-day viewers to experience a highly visual (and often intimate) exchange with Sir Ian McKellen as Richard Gloucester. Specifically, Gloucester’s verbal claims of a disability that renders him unsuitable as a leader and a lack of sexual prowess are juxtaposed alongside sexually violent visual actions and imagery—particularly in the form of phallic symbols. The juxtaposition of verbal passivity in opposition to visual aggression demonstrates how Richard showcases or hides his disability as he pursues the throne: the first half of the film features Richard masquerading ability, while the second half features him masquerading disability.

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From Summit to Tragedy

Sulayman Al-Bassam's Richard III and Political Theatre

Graham Holderness

Richard III is one of Shakespeare’s best-known characters, a familiarity independent of the history plays, Henry VI and Richard III, in which he appears. This celebrity has less to do with Richard’s historical reputation, and more with the way in which great actors of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries gave the role status and popular visibility, particularly perhaps via Laurence Olivier’s 1955 film version. Just as Hamlet is automatically identifi able by black suit and prop skull, Richard is immediately recognisable by his legendary deformity (mandatory hump, optional limp), and by the famous opening line of his initial soliloquy: ‘Now is the winter of our discontent’.

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Editorial

Screening Disability

Brian Bergen-Aurand

This issue of Screen Bodies features a Screen Shots section focusing on screening disability, including essays on new disability documentaries, vacillation and the dis/abled male body—especially as it plays out in Fred Zimmerman’s 1950 film The Men—and questions of masquerade and representations of Richard III on stage and screen. It also includes general essays on “undoing” gender through complicity and subversion, the rise in the importance of the haptic in Japanese society, culture, and filmmaking in the 1920s, and an investigation of uncertainty and the “generosity paradox” with regard to gender, sexuality, and ability in cyborg cinema.

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Douglas Bruster

Q1 Hamlet (1603) routinely sets prose speeches so that they appear to be blank verse. This article argues that such was an attempt to confer prestige upon the text, particularly in the wake of the saturation of Shakespeare books on the literary marketplace around 1600 – a phenomenon that saw his prose works achieve less favour than those in pentameter. The publishers of Q1 Merry Wives (1602) and Q1 Hamlet may have hedged their bets on these Shakespeare texts by amplifying their verse, long the gold standard of the Shakespearean brand. Like The True Tragedie of Richard III (published 1594) and The Famous Victories of Henry V (entered 1594), which presented their opening pages to readers as iambic pentameter, Q1 Hamlet seems to have beautified its dialogue for readers in the early modern book marketplace.

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Graham Holderness

dramatic creativity then went much further, as I became involved in Sulayman’s next project, his adaptation of Richard III , commissioned by the RSC – talking to the writer as he was in the process of creating the work, receiving successive drafts and

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Elizabeth Hoyt and Gašper Jakovac

, whereas Richard III embodies realism (p. 76). Both, in her opinion, are fatally flawed: Henry VI’s piety leads him to avoid war to the point of hurting his people; Richard III’s brutality prompts a war, which, according to the author, is just in every

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Adam Hansen

, Shakespeare was just as likely to use the word ‘Britain’ to signify someone from, or the location that is, Brittany in France (see Richard III , 4.3.40, 4.4.521, 5.3.318, 5.3.334, for examples). Little wonder the Irishman MacMorris in Henry V asks, ‘What

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Exit, pursued by a fan

Shakespeare, Fandom, and the Lure of the Alternate Universe

Kavita Mudan Finn and Jessica McCall

Richard III despite her prominent role in actual conspiracies against Richard III in 1483, giving that role to Lord Stanley and reducing Margaret to a few snide references in speeches by other characters. Lord Stanley is one of the few characters in the

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Franziska Quabeck

manifest in Shakespeare’s Machiavels, York and Richard III, as well as other characters such as Iago, Edmund and Macbeth. Erasmus’s relative pacifism is less often cited as a possible influence. As Marx suggests, however, Erasmus’s Complaint of Peace was

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Katherine Hennessey and Margaret Litvin

that first CS special issue and many more in other publications, including several top journals on Shakespeare, theatre and literature. In 2007, Sulayman Al-Bassam’s adaptation of Richard III became the first Arabic play to be commissioned by the