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Theatres of Feeling

Theatres of Feeling
Affect, Performance, and the Eighteenth-Century Stage


  • Date Published: March 2021
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108466998

£ 18.99

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About the Authors
  • Theatre and theatregoing was central to the cultural life of later eighteenth-century Britain. In this engaging work, Jean I. Marsden explores the playhouse as a source of emotion during a period when the ability to feel demonstrated moral worth. Using first-hand accounts, reviews, and illustrations to complement the drama of the era, Marsden examines why both critics and audiences elevated the theatre above the pulpit and how they experienced the plays and performances that they witnessed. Tears and even fainting fits were a common reaction to powerful productions, and playwrights sought to harness this emotion. The book explores this intersection of text, performance, and affect in a series of case studies of plays exploring British liberty, empire and the evils of antisemitism. With a focus on emotional response, Theatres of Feeling delivers a new approach to dramatic literature and performance, one that moves beyond more limited studies of text or performance.

    • Delivers a book-length study of emotion and affect in later eighteenth-century theatre
    • Studies first-hand accounts, reviews and illustrations to explore the response to drama in the period
    • Provides a series of case studies that investigate affect in plays that explore British liberty, empire, and the evils of antisemitism
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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2021
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108466998
    • length: 235 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.359kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Divine sympathy: theatre, connection, and virtue
    2. Dangerous pleasures: theatregoing in the eighteenth century
    3. Roman fathers and Grecian daughters: tragedy and the nation
    4. Performing the West Indies: comedy, feeling, and British identity
    5. The moral muse: comedy as social engineering

  • Author

    Jean I. Marsden, University of Connecticut
    Jean I. Marsden is Professor of English at the University of Connecticut. Her previous publications include The Appropriation of Shakespeare: Post-Renaissance Reconstructions of the Works and the Myth (1991), The Re-Imagined Text: Shakespeare, Adaptation, and Eighteenth-Century Literary Theory (1995), Fatal Desire: Women, Sexuality, and the English Stage 1660–1720 (2006), and numerous articles or editions dealing with diverse topics ranging from Restoration and eighteenth-century theatre, children's literature, Shakespeare, to the poet Anne Finch.

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