2013 Palmer Award for Best New Essay

Barbara Palmer Award
Award Year: 

Work: Gough, Melinda J. “Marie de Medici’s 1605 Ballet de La Reine: New Evidence and Analysis.” Early Theatre 15, no. 1 (2012): 109–44.

The committee found much to praise in this essay. It gives us new and unpublished archival evidence—a richly detailed letter describing performances of a ballet acted by Marie de Medici and other females as part of her ballet de la reine in Paris in 1605—that deepens and fundamentally changes our understanding of the contributions of women royals as performers in early modern Europe. Members of the committee variously described her analysis of the document for its impressive concision, its precision and restraint, the way in which it brings the records to life as a narrative without conjecture or embellishment, drawing out what is human and real about them, and for the undeniable practical utility of her fine transcription and translation of the document. All in all, Gough's essay significantly expands and changes our understanding of an understudied field while contributing to a larger dialogue about women's performance.