Issue Details: First known date: 2013 2013
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'In a flaunting of bodily 'dis'-play, female burlesque performers of the mid-nineteenth century elevated themselves to celebrity status. By upholding an ethos of irreverence that twisted and unsettled the more problematic ideals of 'womanliness', they provided strategies for their contemporary successors. Such presences continue to flourish in the dream-like shadows or liminal spaces of desire and trickster-infused play to prod audiences (consciously or unconsciously) into new ways of imagining - particularly in relation to the elusive and multidimensional concept of the feminine. The shape-shifting trickster figure is a ubiquitous presence in myth, literature, theatre and screen storytelling (as reworked myth). While it evades any conclusive definition, it's not difficult to recognise core features. The same applies to burlesque and its many manifestations. Like trickster, the form and content of the genre can be elusive, marginal, resilient and absurd - a web of play that in itself defies reason, but inspires much theorising and cultural reflection. It is in the spirit of this focus issue that the following interdisciplinary analysis will look both to and beyond traditional understandings of female-centred burlesque and its manipulation of the feminine. After a brief contextualising history, the emphasis will shift to consider of how this kind of entertainment can be thought of as a liminal experience steeped in trickster energy.' (Publication abstract)

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Last amended 5 Aug 2014 13:43:00