Mothers and Daughters. Gender and Genre in Shakespeareʼs Plays

34.50 €
incl. VAT, plus delivery


Florian Neunstöcklin

Mothers and Daughters. Gender and Genre in Shakespeareʼs Plays

ISBN 978-3-86821-983-8, 262 pp., paperback, € 34,50 (2023)

(Schriftenreihe Literaturwissenschaft, Vol. 99)

Throughout his career, Shakespeare invented a plethora of maternal characters. In his plays one can find compliant patriarchal wives next to rebellious and misandrous widows, motherly friends and confidantes alongside evil stepmothers, and there are pregnant mothers who are separated from their child immediately after birth. Because of this great interest in different aspects of motherhood, it is striking that Shakespeare’s plays so rarely depict the family relationship between a mother and her biological daughter. Mother-daughter relationships are not only marginalized within Shakespeare’s dramatic oeuvre in general, but also within the plots of the six plays where they actually do appear. This analysis brings together close readings ranging from Shakespeare’s earlier plays Romeo and Juliet, Henry V. and The Merry Wives of Windsor to the late tragicomedies Pericles and The Winter’s Tale in order to show that the highly different and contrasting types of motherhood have strong repercussions on the (im)possibilities of imagining and staging mother-daughter relationships within the different genres of Shakespearean drama. The study is informed by an interdisciplinary approach that links Shakespeare and feminist criticism with psycho-analysis and gender and genre studies.

Preview / Table of Contents (pdf)