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October 6, 1997

Downtown lecture focuses on 'Old World' women in the 'New World'

By Barbara McKenna

The story of the "Negress Maria," who was on board a Spanish ship captured by Francis Drake in 1578-79, is one of the stories that is the focus of a lecture by Margo Hendricks, associate professor of literature.

Hendricks's talk, "Portraits in Exile: Englishwomen and Travel in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries," launches the 1997-98 Humanities Lecture Series, sponsored jointly by UCSC's Humanities Division and the Museum of Art and History. The talk takes place from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 9, at the Museum of Art and History at the McPherson Center, 705 Front St. The talk is free and open to the public. A reception follows.

According to the accounts of Francis Drake's nephew, John Drake, the Negress Maria was first the mistress of a Spanish Don and then the sexual object of Francis Drake (and most likely the other officers aboard Drake's vessel).

"Maria is an interesting figure in the history of the making of the 'New World,'" Hendricks says. "Were it not for John Drake's narrative, little would be known of this woman. I want to highlight the ways in which 'forgotten' or ignored histories such as that of the Negress Maria are intricately interwoven with 'literary' representations of women in the New World," she explains.

To do this Hendricks will examine the narrative history of the Negress Maria with those of two other "Old World" women in the "New World" as represented in Aphra Behn's novella Oroonoko and Henry Neville's Isle of the Pines.

Hendricks's research and teaching interests are 16th- and 17th-century literature, women playwrights, cultural studies, theories of race, and 20th-century British and American drama. She has published on Shakespeare, Aphra Behn, and Christopher Marlowe and has just completed a manuscript titled "Forms of Passing: Race in the Making of Aphra Behn." Her works in progress are "Shakespeare and the U.S. African-American Community" and "The Philology of Race."

For more information on the lecture, call (408) 459-2696 or (408) 429-1964.

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