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Look Inside Illegitimate Theatre in London, 1770–1840

Illegitimate Theatre in London, 1770–1840


  • Date Published: August 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521039864

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About the Authors
  • Towards the end of the eighteenth century, a major transformation took place in British dramatic culture. At the heart of that transformation was the controversial emergence of an illegitimate theatre, and a cultural struggle between London's patent playhouses (Drury Lane, Covent Garden and the Haymarket) and the new, so-called minor theatres. This was the first book to explore the institutions, genres, and performance history of this illegitimate theatre. Jane Moody's lively account considers the prohibition of tragedy and comedy at London's minor theatres and describes the various ingenious ways in which performers circumnavigated the law. Moody brings to light illicit productions of Shakespeare and the minor theatres' fascination with dramatic subjects censored on the legitimate stage. Illegitimate Theatre represents an important contribution to our understanding of nineteenth-century cultural politics and also offers a powerful critique of theatre's position in the literary history of Romanticism.

    • Brings to light an influential period of theatrical history
    •  Studies the uncensored theatres of Georgian England
    • Defines illegitimate theatre as a crucial category for the understanding of Romanticism
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is exciting work.' History

    'Illegitimate Theatre does more than enough in recreating and celebrating the energy and multifariousness of unlicensed drama. Like the productions it describes, its exuberant detail can be breathtaking. … an impressively scholarly piece of work … a pleasurable read.' Romanticism

    'Moody's book is rich in detailed research and vivid examples, and she never loses the sense of vitality and entertainment that lies at the heart of her subject … an indispensable contribution to the study of theatrical culture in the period.' New Theatre Quarterly

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2007
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521039864
    • length: 296 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.448kg
    • contains: 15 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    List of abbreviations
    1. The invention of illegitimate culture
    2. The disintegration of legitimate theatre
    3. Illegitimate production
    4. Illegitimate Shakespeares
    5. Reading the theatrical city
    6. Westminster laughter
    7. Illegitimate celebrities
    Select bibliography

  • Author

    Jane Moody, University of York

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