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Lecture plus MA Seminar: Queens: Power, Glamour, Femininity

Queens: Glamour, Power Femininity

Prof. E. Bronfen und Dr. B. Straumann


Lecture Thursday 14-16, KOL-F-117,

Seminar Thursday 16-18, PLH 102

Autumn 2012





1. (20.9.)         L – Technical issues and screening of The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (dir. Michael Curtiz, perf. Bette Davis, 1939)

S – Technical issues and screening of Young Bess (dir. George Sidney, perf. Jean Simmons, 1953)


2. (27.9.)         L – Political Visions: The Two Bodies of Elizabeth I

-- Elisabeth Bronfen/Barbara Straumann: “Königinnen”*

S – Texts by Elisabeth Bronfen and Barbara Straumann

-- Bronfen: “Zwischen Himmel und Hölle” (from Die Diva)*

-- Straumann: “Queen, Dandy, Diva” (from Die Diva)*

-- Bronfen/Straumann: “Diva Elizabeth I.: Politik und Entertainment”*

-- Bronfen: “Cross-Mapping und der Austausch sozialer Energien”*



 Elizabeth I


3. (4.10.)         L – Shakespeare’s Elizabeth: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Richard II, Henriad, Richard III, Macbeth

S – Critical Texts on Shakespeare’s Elizabeth

-- Louis Montrose: “Shaping Fantasies”* on MND

-- Ernst H. Kantorowicz on Richard II (from The King’s Two Bodies)*


4. (11.10.)       L – Portraits of Elizabeth I
S – Elizabeth I: Writings, Poetry and Speeches

-- Selections from the Norton volume t.b.a. and OLAT*


5. (18.10.)       L – Literary Representations in Romanticism and Modernism

Friedrich Schiller’s Maria Stuart (1800), Walter Scott’s Kenilworth (1821), Virginia Woolf’s Orlando (1928)

S – More Modernist Representations

-- Lytton Strachey’s Essex and Elizabeth: A Tragic History (1928)

-- Edith Sitwell: Fanfare for Elizabeth (1946)

-- Edith Sitwell: The Queens and the Hive (1962)



6. (25.10.)       L – Celebrity – Politics – Theatricalization

                        Flora Robson in Fire over England (1937), Sea Hawk (1940)

                        Bette Davis in The Private Lives, (1939), The Virgin Queen (1955)

                        Jean Simmons in Young Bess (1953)

                        Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth (1998), Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)

                        -- Richard Dyer: from Stars*

                        -- Joseph Roach: “It”*

S – Guest lecture by lic. phil. Thomas Keller (Zurich): “Punk Queens: Strategies of Female Self-Empowerment in Popular Music Culture”





7. (1.11.)         L – Cleopatra’s History as a Visual Icon

                        S – Writing Cleopatra’s Biography

-- Stacey Schiff: Cleopatra. A Life


8. (8.11)          L – William Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra

S – Critical Texts on Antony and Cleopatra

-- Janet Adelman: “Nature’s Piece ‘gainst Fancy: Poetry and the Structure of Belief in Antony and Cleopatra

-- Catherine Belsey: “Cleopatra’s Seduction”*

-- Marjorie Garber: “Antony and Cleopatra” (Shakespeare After All)*

-- Richardine Woodall: “Shakespeare’s Queen Cleopatra”*


9. (15.11.)       L – Classic Hollywood’s Cleopatra: Theda Bara, Claudette Colbert, Vivien Leigh

S – Aby Warburg’s Cultural Survival of Image Formulas: student     presentations


10. (22.11.)     L – Elizabeth Taylor’s Stardom and Its Recyclings

                        S – Conference on “Precarious Bodies”



Royal Others


11. (29.11.)     L – Queen Victoria

                       S – How to outline a research essay, how to find and evaluate research material


12. (6.12.)       L – Hollywood’s Royalty and the 1930s

Greta Garbo in Queen Christina (1933)

Marlene Dietrich in The Scarlet Empress (1934)

Norman Shearer in Marie Antoinette (1938)

S – Guest lecture by Prof. Monika Seidl (Vienna): “Would We Like to Be Queen for a Day: On Clairol, Doan’s Pills and US-American Women in the 1950s”


13. (13.12.)     L – Elizabeth II and Jackie Kennedy Onassis

                        S – Students present essay projects


14. (20.12.)     L – Exam

                        S – Conclusion: more essay projects and what I learned




The seminar provides a theoretically more detailed analysis of the way in which cultural representations of queenship bring glamour, power and femininity into play with each other. Seminar participants should be aware that information and material presented in the lecture forms the basis of the discussions that will be conducted in this seminar. It is therefore very emphatically recommended that ALL seminar participants also attend the lecture, since successful participation will otherwise be seriously inhibited.





Schiff, Stacey. Cleopatra: A Life. London: Virgin Books, 2010.

Shakespeare, William. Antony and Cleopatra (Arden or Norton Shakespeare ed. by S. Greenblatt)

______. A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Arden or Norton Shakespeare ed. by S. Greenblatt)

Stump, Donald V. and Susan M. Felch, eds. Elizabeth I and Her Age. New York: Norton, 2009. (Selections will be announced in class.)


In addition please purchase and read at least one of the following books:

Sitwell, Edith. Fanfare for Elizabeth

______. The Queens and the Hive

Strachey, Lytton. Elizabeth and Essex: A Tragic History


Any edition will do. In the case of Sitwell, you may have to look for second-hand copies, which are readily available on amazon.co.uk.


The handouts for the lecture and texts marked with an asterisk (*) are available on OLAT.







-- 18th October: All participants are required to present Strachey’s Elizabeth and Essex or either one of the Sitwell books (in the case of Sitwell’s The Queens and the Hive focus on the representations of Elizabeth I). Put together a brief summary, develop a Figurenkonstellation, isolate the most important themes and crucial passages for the presentation in class. This can be done either individually or in groups, but each individual participant is required to write a one-page summary of her/his findings.


-- 8th November: All participants are required to present one of the critical texts on Antony and Cleopatra. Look at aspects such as the claim (thesis statement), the development of the argument, the critical approach/position. Again the preparation for the presentation in class can be done either individually or in groups, but each individual participant is required to write a one-page summary of her/his findings.


-- 15th November: Write a half page on one of the image formulas that have emerged in the lecture and the seminar material and be prepared to present your findings in class.


-- 20th December: Write a half page on what you learned in this class.



Research Essays (9 CP)


Participants are required to present their essay projects in one of the last two sessions. The deadline for the essay (15-20 pages) is Friday 15th February 5:00 p.m. Please put the hardcopy of your essay into Prof. Bronfen’s pigeonhole in the department office AND send the electronic version of your essay to her assistant Dr. Alexander Markin < alexander.markin@es.uzh.ch>, using the subject heading “Queens essay”.