Suffrage Movement and the Subversion of the ‘Juridico-Discursive’ Power in the Victorian Period: Elizabeth Robins and The Concept of 'New Women'

  • Esmaeil Najar Theatre History, Literature, and Criticism, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  • Reza Kazemifar MA in English Literature, Kharazmi University of Tehran, Tehran, IRAN
Keywords: Suffrage Movement, Elizabeth Robins, Suffrage Drama, Foucault, Ibsen

Abstract

This paper examines the socio-historical subversion of ‘juridico-discursive’ power in the late Victorian period. It briefly investigates the rise of the British suffrage movement and highlights the role of ‘suffrage drama’ as its social apparatus. The authors demonstrate how suffrage artists, especially the playwright/actress Elizabeth Robins, acted against the dominant patriarchal hegemony and were in frontline of social uprisings. It is argued that ‘Suffrage drama’ as a ‘place of tolerance’ functioned as an antithesis to the mainstream theatre and challenged the conventional dramatic forms practiced prior to its birth. Suffrage drama provided a space for women to have their collective voice heard in a social and political context in the early Victorian era. Elizabeth Robins, mostly acknowledged for enacting women heroines of Ibsen’s plays, became an invaluable inspirational figure for suffrage women as she was the actress in whom the strong concept of the ‘New Woman’ was incarnated.

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Published
2017-02-01