BEING CLEOPATRA: Becoming Cleopatra: The Shifting Image of an Icon

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Becoming Cleopatra: The Shifting Image of an Icon

"The Cleopatra icon has remained powerful over time because she signifies reinvention," Royster declares in this academic study of the Queen of the Nile. Divided into two parts, "Cleopatra and the White Imaginary" and "Cleopatra and African American Counternarratives," Royster's book makes frequent reference to Shakespeare's famous romance, Antony and Cleopatra, in which Cleopatra and Antony's relationship "might be viewed as a central paradigm for the ways that the multiple energy of black women's bodies can be appropriated and sold back to us." But the author's primary goal is to examine how modern film and stage depictions have functioned "as a means of performing and often deconstructing racial and gender subjectivity." Individual chapters, and close shot-by-shot analyses are devoted to the performances of Elizabeth Taylor, Josephine Baker, Queen Latifah, Tamara Dobson and Vivien Leigh. Royster, an associate English professor at DePaul Univ., has crafted a dense but readable book, especially appropriate for women in film courses. Photos.Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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