The Diva's Mouth: Body, Voice, and Prima Donna Politics

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9780813523040: The Diva's Mouth: Body, Voice, and Prima Donna Politics
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Like the divine, divas, it seems, are omnipresent. From the sirens to Madonna, from castrati to Callas, from opera stage to drag shows to TV commercials, from George Eliot to writers of detective fiction, the diva has been worshipped, feared, maligned, parodied, and appropriated. The Diva's Mouth: Bodies, Voice, and Prima Donna Politics examines how and why, from the eighteenth century to the present, divas have been talked about with so much passion and written up, down, and over with so much ambiguity and contradiction. The book explores the myriad roles the diva plays in masculinist, feminist, and queer imaginations--in opera itself and in other fictions, films, and fantasies, including the divas' (and the authors') own. Finally, it examines how and why pop and "pomo" singers, like Madonna, Annie Lennox, and Diamanda Galas, in very explicit ways both flirt with and fling off the fantasy of the woman with a voice. In this very witty and highly readable book, the authors tell everything you always wanted to know and make you want to know even more about the diva.

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The diva has always been at the center of gay male sensibility. From Madama Butterfly to Madonna, from Jenny Lind to Judy Garland, gay men have admired, adored, and even occasionally admonished the fabulous female star. In The Diva's Mouth Susan Leonardi and Rebecca Pope place a feminist spin on the diva that repositions her from simply being enjoyed to being empowered. With references that range from Geraldine Ferraro to George Eliot, from Trilby to Annie Lennox, The Diva's Mouth explores the ramifications of a woman controlling the stage and the imagination of an audience. Lucidly written, full of information--both arcane and useful--and rivetingly argued, The Diva's Mouth is cultural criticism at its best.

About the Author:

Leonardi followed 16 years of Catholic education with eight years of teaching in Catholic high schools. She currently teaches literature and writing at the University of Maryland.

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9780813523033: The Diva's Mouth: Body, Voice, and Prima Donna Politics

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Publisher: Rutgers University Press, 1996
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