Becoming Cleopatra: The Shifting Image of an Icon

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Palgrave Macmillan, Aug 2, 2003 - Art - 258 pages
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Cleopatra is one of our icons of “exotic” femininity. Sexy, political, and racially ambiguous--since the time of Shakespeare she has been a central character in popular culture. And, more often than not, Cleopatra has been imagined as the epitome of dangerous female sexuality. Moving fluidly from Shakespeare's England to contemporary Los Angeles, Francesca Royster looks at the performance of race and sexuality in a wide range of portrayals of Cleopatra. Royster begins with Shakespeare's original appropriation of Plutarch, and then moves on to analyze performances of the Cleopatra icon by Josephine Baker, and the on screen performances of Elizabeth Taylor, Tamara Dobson (Cleopatra Jones), and Queen Latifah (in Set It Off).

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Becoming Cleopatra: the shifting image of an icon

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"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 ... Read full review

About the author (2003)

FRANCESCA ROYSTER is Associate Professor of English at DePaul University, where she teaches courses on Shakespeare, film, and black feminism. She is one of the leading young African American feminist Shakespeare scholars.