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Title: Floating identities : Timberlake Wertenbaker's playwriting
Author: Bush, Sophie
ISNI:       0000 0004 2742 6570
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis is a study of the contemporary playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker. Its principal source of research has been Wertenbaker's Archive, held by the British Library. This resource has enabled me to compare Wertenbaker's unpublished and unfinished plays with those for which she is better known, thus building a picture of her playwriting career as a developing process. I address ideas of identity formation and resistance to the imposition of identity, as a theme across Wertenbaker's creative works and a feature of her own life. Covering the whole span of Wertenbaker's writing for the stage to date (1976 to 2009), I discuss her plays chronologically, in order to foreground the development of her career. I offer thematic links across these groupings, which are designed to retain a sense of fluidity. I propose that Wertenbaker's diverse writings of the late 1970s developed into a more coherent, feminism-informed body of plays in the early 1980s. Always keen to avoid the labelling of her work, Wertenbaker seems to have sought to expand, or universalise, these concerns, producing her most popular and well-known works of the late 1980s. These plays, which focus on language, make parallels between the oppression of women and the oppression of whole nations or cultural groups, and move her work along a continuum from issues of gender to those of culture and nationhood. These latter concerns become a recurrent trope in her plays of the 1990s and the turn of the millennium, and are intricately linked with concepts of genealogical reproduction on both a global and a personal scale. Whilst my model divides Wertenbaker's work into sections that do not exist in reality, I imbue this structure with the same sense of mutability and fluidity that, I argue, is crucial to the plays.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available