A Postcolonial Study of The Love of the Nightingale by Timberlake Wertenbaker

Document Type : Original Article


School of Foreign Studies, University of Science and Technology Beijing


Timberlake Wertenbaker, as one of the most influential contemporary playwrights since late 1980s, has received numerous awards such as Oliver Award, the New York Drama Critics Award and the Writers’ Guild Award.In her Love of the Nightingale, Timberlake Wertenbaker frequently presents a phenomenon of silence, including both a physical silence represented by Tereus’ cutting down Philomele’s tongue, and a psychological silence shown in the incommunicability between Niobe and Philomele, as well as that between Female Chorus and Procne. This latter psychological silence, when given the author’s complicated cultural identity and through the frame of postcolonial theory, will offer a deeper reading of Wertenbaker’s concept of “silence”, not female’s silence based on gender perspective only, but the act of silencing in general, including the enforced silence of the colonized by colonizer and that of a “barbarian” culture by a civilized and logical culture.

Key Words: The Love of the Nightingale; Postcolonialism; silence; Niobe; Female Chorus