Academic journal article Women and Language

A Note on Oral Interpretation

Academic journal article Women and Language

A Note on Oral Interpretation

Article excerpt

An introduction to the speaking and dramatic presentations of Fanny Kemble by Diane Cypkin appears in the 1996 publication, the New Dimensions in Communication: Proceedings of the 54th Annual Conference of the New York State Speech Communication Association, Vol 10, (pp. 44-53).

Cypkin's paper, "Fanny Kemble: Shakespearean orator or, A Gracious Curtsy to a Neglected Communication Art," directs our attention to a remarkable woman of whom most of us have never heard and reminds us how different the 19th century is from our current one. In a time when books on tape have reached new heights of popularity and spawned a small industry of book abridgers, and in which movies discover "The Bard," we benefit from being reminded. Kemble supported herself at a time when it was unfashionable among gentlewomen and men for women to do so for a lifetime. Though from a family replete with actors, both women and men, (perhaps because of that?) Fanny Kemble as a girl had not planned acting as her life. Throughout her life, according to Cypkin, Kemble continued to find her profession and fellow performers distasteful. But, as a dutiful daughter she felt called to help the family when management of Covent Garden threatened to overwhelm her father financially. She turned to acting, and eventually developed a series of one person shows, at first relying on Shakespeare, later expanding to include the works of modern playwrights, but ultimately finding her mileu in Shakespeare's works. …

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