Dr. Katrine Wong, Assistant Professor of the Department of English, earns high praise for book on Renaissance music and drama

3 Apr 2014


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Dr. Katrine Wong from the University of Macau (UM) Department of English has won high praise for her recent book Music and Gender in English Renaissance Drama (New York: Routledge, 2013). This ground-breaking study explores the ways in which the music and song used in a wide variety of plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries expressed the social roles performed by women and men. A review in the prestigious journal, Renaissance Quarterly, states that Dr. Wong’s study “substantively adds to the understanding not just of early modern songs, but of Renaissance drama overall” and that it is “a particularly valuable addition to the study of Renaissance literature”.

The negotiation between the dichotomous qualities with which music in Renaissance theatre is associated – the heavenly and the demonic – finds extensive application in recent studies of music in early modern English plays. However, although ideological dualities identified in music in traditional Renaissance thinking may seem unequivocal, various musical representation of characters and situations in Renaissance drama would prove otherwise. Through a survey of how non-Shakespearean male and female characters participated and interacted in musical activities both inside and outside the contemporary societal decorum, Music and Gender in English Renaissance Drama explores how playwrights at the time both conformed to and challenged conventional beliefs about music practice for each gender. The examination of music-making men, in particular, will open up an exciting discourse in the field of early modern masculinity. This book will broaden the reader’s understanding of the general theatrical representation of music, as well as complicate the current discussion of musical portrayal and construction of gender in English Renaissance drama.

Dr. Wong is currently assistant professor of English literature and director of the University Shakespeare Team at UM. She was awarded a Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fellowship in 2004 and received her PhD from the University of Leeds in 2008. She is co-editor of Macao – Cultural Interaction and Literary Representations (Oxford: Routledge, 2014), to which she wrote the introduction.

Dr. Wong is also a classically trained pianist and operatic soprano, holding professional qualifications of FTCL (Solo Piano) and LTCL (Voice Performance) from Trinity College London.