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Title: Joe Orton and Shakespeare: collage, class and queerness
Authors: Parker, Emma
First Published: 23-May-2017
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Citation: Studies in Theatre and Performance, 2017
Abstract: This essay considers Joe Orton's relationship to Shakespeare through the library book covers that he redesigned with his partner Kenneth Halliwell and through his plays. It proposes that Orton and Halliwell's neglected Shakespeare dust jackets are as subversive as the better-known covers of the popular and middlebrow library books they reworked. Their collages ironise or queer Shakespeare's themes and contest critical authority. By focusing specifically on Arden editions, Orton and Halliwell resist the gentrification of Shakespeare engendered by elitist academic discourse and bourgeois spaces such as the public library and the theatre. The same irreverent attitude to Shakespeare is evident in Orton's plays. Although he admired, identified with and drew inspiration from his predecessor, Orton recycles Shakespeare's plots, lines and motifs to transform their class politics and to amplify their sexual dissidence. Overall, this essay contends that by reshaping Shakespeare from a working class, queer perspective Orton resists the Bard's growing function as an emblem of social distinction in mid-century Britain.
DOI Link: 10.1080/14682761.2017.1309834
ISSN: 1468-2761
Embargo on file until: 23-Nov-2018
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2017, Taylor & Francis (Routledge). Deposited with reference to the publisher’s open access archiving policy.
Description: The file associated with this record is under embargo until 18 months after publication, in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy. The full text may be available through the publisher links provided above.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of English

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