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Of tails and Tempests : Feminine sexuality and Shakespearean children's texts

Hateley, Erica (2006) Of tails and Tempests : Feminine sexuality and Shakespearean children's texts. Borrowers and Lenders : The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation, 2(1).

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Abstract

This paper reads a range of nineteenth-century texts for children that retell either Shakespeare's The Tempest or mermaid narratives, considering the models of feminine subjectivity and sexuality that they construct. It then moves on to two key contemporary texts — Disney's film adaptation of The Little Mermaid (Clements and Musker 1989) and Penni Russon's Undine (2004) — that combine the Shakespearean heroine with the mermaid, and reads them against the nineteenth-century models. Ultimately, the essay determines that, while these texts seem to perform a progressive appropriation of the two traditions, they actually combine the most conservative aspects of both The Tempest and mermaid stories to produce authoritative (and dangerously persuasive) ideals of passive feminine sexuality that confine girls within patriarchally-dictated familial positions. The new figure for adolescent female subjectivity, the mermaid-Miranda, becomes in turn a model of identification and aspiration for the implied juvenile consumer.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 27272
Item Type: Journal Article
ISSN: 1554-6985
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > LITERARY STUDIES (200500) > Literary Studies not elsewhere classified (200599)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > FILM TELEVISION AND DIGITAL MEDIA (190200) > Film and Television (190204)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Past > Schools > School of Cultural & Language Studies in Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2003 Dept. of English, University of Georgia
Deposited On: 08 Sep 2009 09:56
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 23:54

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