Voice in Motion: Staging Gender, Shaping Sound in Early Modern England (Review)
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I was prepared not to like Voice in Motion. Yet another text on voice and gender? Given the history of feminist interest in women’s voices in the early modern period (from Elizabeth Harvey’s Ventriloquized Voices  to Christina Luckyj’s ‘A Moving Rhetoricke’ ), I imagined, as I began reading, that Gina Bloom would be hard-pressed to make a genuinely original contribution.
I was wrong. Voice in Motion is an achievement: the book is dense but accessible, filled with exciting new readings of a host of dramatic texts (from Coriolanus and Cymbeline to King John and Antonio and Mellida) threaded through equally compelling and original readings of a number of contextualizing materials—including anatomical texts on aurality, Protestant sermons on the function of the listener, tracts on acting and voice, and, to cap the book, the splendid and hilarious Laneham’s Letter, purportedly an eyewitness account of Queen Elizabeth I’s sojourn at Kenilworth Castle that Bloom uses deftly to position the queen as a model of aural feminist agency. Bloom is equally at home with contemporary performance theory, obscure historical sources, and the pragmatic discourses of the theatre, making her book a delightful as well as informative journey that will appeal to early modern scholars, scholars of acting and audience, and, of course, theorists of gender and the body.