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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

The Feminist Spectator in Action

Feminist Criticism for the Stage and Screen

ISBN 9781137032898
Publication Date July 2013
Formats Paperback Ebook Hardcover 
Publisher Palgrave

Based on her award-winning blog, The Feminist Spectator, Jill Dolan presents a lively feminist perspective in reviews and essays on a variety of theatre productions, films and television series—from The Social Network and Homeland to Split Britches' Lost Lounge.

Demonstrating the importance of critiquing mainstream culture through a feminist lens, Dolan also offers invaluable advice on how to develop feminist critical thinking and writing skills. This is an essential read for budding critics and any avid spectator of the stage and screen.

Jill Dolan is Annan Professor in English and Professor of Theatre at Princeton University, USA, where she is also Director of its programme in Gender and Sexuality Studies. She is the author of Utopia in Performance: Finding Hope at the Theatre and The Feminist Spectator as Critic, among other books. She writes The Feminist Spectator blog at www.feministspectator.blogspot.com.

PART I: ADVOCACY 1. Dynasty Handbag
2. The Kids are All Right
3. Dog and Pony Show
4. The Hurt Locker
5. Circumstance
6. Scandal
7. Young Adult
8. Girls and Tiny Furniture
10. Nurse Jackie
11. For Colored Girls
12. The Black Swan
13. The Social Network
14. The Hunger Games
15. Brave
PART III: ARGUMENT 16. The Merchant of Venice
17. The Normal Heart
18. Children's Hour
19. Homeland
20. Porgy and Bess
21. Wit
22. Death of a Salesman
23. Clybourne Park
24. Tomboy
PART IV: ARTISTRY 25. Friday Night Lights
26. Come Back, Little Sheba
27. Hair
28. Let Me Down Easy
29. Bridesmaids
30. Lost Lounge
31. Once
32. Jomama Jones
33. Midsummer Night's Dream
34. Your Sister's Sister


Dolan uses both this text and her award-winning blog to address 'the paucity of feminist perspectives in the popular press', and she advocates the usefulness of a feminist critical paradigm in critiquing productions. As examples for the text, she analyzes works like Mamma Mia, Nurse Jackie, The Hunger Games, Brave, Porgy and Bess, and Come Back, Little Sheba. The book concludes with a how-to-guide for using a feminist perspective to analyze media outlets. Recommended.' - Choice
'This is a wonderful book, especially for the undergraduate classroom. It is great to see this fresh look at contemporary theatre and film, and Dolan's tone and prose throughout is engaging and lucid. Her skills as a critical spectator are much needed and her book both exemplifies these talents and instructs others explicitly to cultivate them.' - Peggy Phelan, The Ann O'Day Maples Professor of the Arts, and Professor in Drama and English, Stanford University, USA
'The first book-length treatise on feminist spectatorship to include both an anthology of reviews and a practical 'how-to' manual for students, would-be writers, and art enthusiasts, The Feminist Spectator in Action attends to an urgent, if chronic, issue in the cinematic and performing arts: the entrenched lack of gender parity.' - Sara Warner, Associate Professor, Cornell University, USA
'An astute intervention in popular criticism. In this stylistically and rhetorically appealing piece of writing...Dolan offers a DIY manual that can be of help to aspiring critics and young academics.' - Journal of Contemporary Drama in English
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