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Research Article

Adolescents and Family Crises in Victorian vs Contemporary Prose Versions of Romeo and Juliet for a Female Audience

Laura Tosi    Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italia     ORCID iD

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abstract

The article is concerned with the female readership of Shakespeare’s plays and the way abridgements, adaptations, and appropriations have mediated and still mediate the cultural relationship that girls or young women establish with the Bard. The analysis concentrates on the relationships between generations, and the way narrators focus and comment on the family crisis originated in the play. By exploring motivation, establishing new links between the characters, and having narrators pass authoritative moral judgements, all these texts negotiate with well-established interpretations of the play, often challenging and channelling them into unexpected critical directions. Although narrative versions of Romeo and Juliet can’t help being loaded with the baggage of the tragedy’s associations, the female young reader may be captured by the power of narrative fiction – in the same way, we might imagine, in which Shakespeare was captured by novellas about the story of the two lovers from Verona. In addition, narrative amplification in the young adult novels adds a creative impulse to the narrative reconfiguration of the play, implicitly inviting girl readers to reflect on the differences, and occasional similarities, in the growing up crises of early modern or medieval teenagers and today’s adolescents.

Keywords: Shakespeare. Romeo and Juliet. Children literature. Female readership. Teenagers. Adolescents.

Language: en

Published: Sept. 30, 2016  

permalink: http://doi.org/10.14277/2499-1562/AnnOc-50-16-12

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