Excerpted from Melinda Gough's 2019 monograph Dancing Queen: Marie de Médicis’ Ballets at the Court of Henri IV, Gough’s talk takes up court ballet as a window into Marie de Médicis’ use of the performing arts as a vehicle for politically engaged queenship. Focusing on the February 1602 Ballet of the Sixteen Virtues, the first production danced by Marie in Paris, Gough will explore how this production’s textual and visual iconographies, by merging Christian with classical imagery, emphasized the new queen’s divinely ordained status as Henri’s legal consort. Read in light of this ballet’s casting choices, divinizing imagery in this instance not only promoted the Bourbon regime by resacralizing the French monarchy but also defended Marie’s contributions to that regime by insistently placing her, rather than the king’s mistress Henriette d’Entragues, marquise de Verneuil, in the role of mother to the true dauphin through whom peace, plenty, and political stability would be secured.
Melinda Gough is Professor of English and Cultural Studies, and Acting Director of the Gender Studies and Feminist Research Graduate Program, at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Her research focuses on late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century English and continental literature, with particular attention to early modern women as producers and consumers of courtly and popular culture.
Currently, Gough is editing the anonymous 1620 tragicomedy Swetnam the Woman-Hater Arraigned by Women for the Revels Plays at Manchester University Press. Melinda is also a lead investigator for Engendering the Stage in the Age of Shakespeare and Beyond, an international research project that highlights resonances between the history of gendered performance on the early modern stage and our contemporary drive to achieve gender equity in today’s professional theatre industry. Since 2013, Melinda has served as Editor of Early Theatre: A Journal Associated with the Records of Early English Drama.
This is an online event. Register online to participate via Zoom.
Co-sponsored with the Society for the Study of Women in the Renaissance (SSWR) and the CUNY Academy for Humanities and Sciences.
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