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Queen Caroline’s pains and penalties: Silence and speech in the dramatic art of British women’s suffrage

Cockin, Katharine

Authors

Katharine Cockin



Abstract

In Britain, the act that launched the militant campaign of the suffragettes in 1905 was the interruption of a political meeting in Manchester. The violent silencing and arrest of the women ensued. The women’s suffrage campaigns in Britain became more vigorous in the early twentieth century. They frequently foregrounded the oppressive silencing of women in their political speeches at public meetings, in newspapers, and in the courts. Having deliberately sought arrest, some militant suffrage activists exploited the arena of the court room to expound on their political position. In various audacious and spectacular ways, the exclusion of women from the democratic process was challenged, not least by a sustained attack on the legal system. Drama, one of the more successful cultural forms of protest, was often used to expose the inequities of the existing social fabric, and as an aesthetic form it deploys the body as well as the voice. This paper will examine the forceful, anti-rhetorical function of silence in British women’s suffrage drama from the early twentieth century, focusing on the appropriation of Queen Caroline (1768–1821) as a silent proto-suffragette in Pains and Penalties, a play about her trial, written by Laurence Housman (1865–1959) and directed by Edith Craig for the Pioneer Players theatre society.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2012-03
Journal Law and literature
Print ISSN 1535-685X
Electronic ISSN 1541-2601
Publisher University of California Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 1
Pages 40-58
Institution Citation Cockin, K. (2012). Queen Caroline’s pains and penalties: Silence and speech in the dramatic art of British women’s suffrage. Law and literature, 24(1), 40-58. doi:10.1525/lal.2012.24.1.40
DOI https://doi.org/10.1525/lal.2012.24.1.40
Keywords Women’s suffrage drama; Monarchy; Censorship; Suffragettes; Trial; Parliament
Publisher URL http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/lal.2012.24.1.40?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
Copyright Statement Published as Katharine Cockin. (2012). Queen Caroline's pains and penalties : silence and speech in the dramatic art of British women's suffrage. Law and literature, 24(1), 40–58. http://doi.org/10.1525/lal.2012.24.1.40. © 2012 by The Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University. Copying and permissions notice: Authorization to copy this content beyond fair use (as specified in Sections 107 and 108 of the U. S. Copyright Law) for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients, is granted by The Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University for libraries and other users, provided that they are registered with and pay the specified fee via Rightslink® or directly with the Copyright Clearance Center.
Additional Information Published as Katharine Cockin. (2012). Queen Caroline's pains and penalties : silence and speech in the dramatic art of British women's suffrage. Law and literature, 24(1), 40–58. http://doi.org/10.1525/lal.2012.24.1.40. © 2012 by The Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University. Copying and permissions notice: Authorization to copy this content beyond fair use (as specified in Sections 107 and 108 of the U. S. Copyright Law) for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients, is granted by The Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University for libraries and other users, provided that they are registered with and pay the specified fee via Rightslink® or directly with the Copyright Clearance Center.

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Copyright Statement
Published as Katharine Cockin. (2012). Queen Caroline's pains and penalties : silence and speech in the dramatic art of British women's suffrage. Law and literature, 24(1), 40–58. http://doi.org/10.1525/lal.2012.24.1.40. © 2012 by The Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University. Copying and permissions notice: Authorization to copy this content beyond fair use (as specified in Sections 107 and 108 of the U. S. Copyright Law) for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients, is granted by The Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University for libraries and other users, provided that they are registered with and pay the specified fee via Rightslink® or directly with the Copyright Clearance Center.





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