This is part of a weekly series here at TSS: Early Modern and Open Access regularly showcases peer reviewed articles (or other resources) of interest to early modernists that are freely available in open access formats.
Citation and Link:
Krystyna Kujawinska Courtney, “Callie Kimball’s The Rape of Lucrece (2007): A Woman’s Creative Response to Shakespeare’s Poem,” Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation 7.2 (2012/2013).
Though from their inception Shakespeare’s works have been re-written, re-structured, and re-created in countless adaptations and appropriations, The Rape of Lucrece has rarely been recently included in this practice. After a brief survey of reasons why The Rape of Lucrece is generally excluded from contemporary critical discourse and has rarely been treated as an inspiration for interpreting one’s own national history and literature, the main part of the essay presents Callie Kimball’s creative response to Shakespeare’s poem. The dramaturgical adaptation of this young American playwright, theater director, and actor was staged by the Washington Shakespeare Company, Washington, D.C., as a part of the 2007 annual Shakespeare Festival. Though this first ever woman’s rendition of the poem was not of a feminist character, Kimball’s appropriation attempted to establish Lucrece in the context of her time and world, while making her choices not just understandable, but inevitable to a modern audience. Both the text and the production suggest women’s growing immunity to men’s attempts to subject and objectify them in literary texts, culture, politics, and daily life.