Miss Felicia Strouth

Research project: The Lady's Shakespeare: American Women's Interactions with Shakespeare's Plays, 1830s-1890s

Abstract

This project,  The Lady's Shakespeare: American Women's Interactions with Shakespeare's Plays, 1830s-1890s aims to join a historical discussion and explore the effects of wartime trauma on American women through a focus on literary societies and named Shakespeare groups. Through a lens of trauma theory, I examine literary societies and named Shakespeare groups during the Antebellum and Postbellum periods of America's history. I start with the important groundwork of establishing the societal mindset of the time, through a brief exploration of women's interactions with Shakespeare in writing and theatre, leading up to the American Civil War, followed by a close study of literary societies and Shakespeare groups beginning in the 1830s- through the beginning of the American Civil War in 1861. I then explore how many literary societies had to put their activities on hold and join up with Women's Volunteer Associations and various other volunteer organizations to aid wartime effort, despite a brief reprieve for the Tercentenary in April of 1864. My final chapter, exploring Women's Literary Societies and Shakespeare Reading Groups in the years following the American Civil War (1865-1890s) follows the dissolution of Women's Volunteer Associations and other wartime organizations and notes the differences in those women who wanted to restore the gender norm and the women who headed literary societies and Shakespeare groups who wanted to continue finding women's new place in society. This chapter follows the philanthropic and community based activities of these new groups, including the creation of public libraries and public green spaces, alongside the creation of scholarships for young girls in the local communities, alongside their influence on the newly developing West Coast, as literary societies and Shakespeare groups begin to gain popularity. I examine these creations using the lens of trauma theory to find the role of the American Civil War and wartime trauma in the sudden gender shift from the 1830s to the time directly following the American Civil War.

  • Research degree: PhD
  • Title of project: The Lady's Shakespeare: American Women's Interactions with Shakespeare's Plays, 1830s-1890s
  • Research supervisor: Dr Matthew Birchwood
  • Other research supervisor: Dr Selene Scarsi

Biography

I began my academic career in Athens, West Virginia, where I obtained a Bachelor's degree in English Literature with minors in History and Philosophy from Concord University. After graduation I worked at my local newspaper, The Princeton Times before I moved to Everett, WA where I worked in childcare. I returned to academia in 2017, where I obtained an MA in Shakespeare from Royal Holloway, University of London.

Shakespeare and the American South are my passions and I love researching the ties between the two, but in my spare time outside of research, I enjoy reading, creative writing, sewing and enjoying the outdoors.

Areas of research interest

  • Shakespeare
  • Women in Academia
  • Women in the American South
  • Gender Studies

Qualifications

  • BA in English Literature, Concord University
  • MA in Shakespeare, Royal Holloway, University of London