Victorian women were exhilarated by the authoritative voice and the professional opportunity that, uniquely, the theatre offered them. Victorian men, anxious to preserve their dominance in this as in every other sphere of life, sought to limit the theatre as being distinctively, irrevocably masculine. Actresses were represented as inhuman monstrosities, not women at all. Furthermore, the executive functions of theatre-manager and playwright were carefully defined as requiring supposedly masculine qualities of mind and personality. A woman playwright came to be seen as an impossibility, although their number actually increased towards the close of the nineteenth century. In this book, Kerry Powell chronicles the development of women's participation in the theatre as playwrights, actresses and managers and explores the making of the Victorian actress, gender and playwriting of the period, and the contributions these made to developments in the following century.Read more
- First study to provide insight on women in the Victorian theatre, as managers of companies, actresses and playwrights
- Will be of interest to women's studies markets
- Contains illustrations from productions
Reviews & endorsements
'… a vivid account of some of the ways in which women were placed, and placed themselves, in the Victorian theatre.' Studies in Theatre ProductionSee more reviews
'Powell presents his discussion lucidly, and illustrates it with a wide range of quotations from numerous theatre novels of the period, as well as from the letters and memoirs of those engaged in creating and sometimes trying to change this theatre … well worth reading and pondering.' New Theatre Quarterly
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- Date Published: January 2007
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521033299
- length: 220 pages
- dimensions: 228 x 152 x 15 mm
- weight: 0.334kg
- contains: 6 b/w illus.
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
List of illustrations: Preface
Part I. The Making of the Victorian Actress:
1. 'Think of the power-'
2. Masculine panic and the panthers of the stage
3. Actresses, managers and feminized theatre
Part II. Gender and Victorian Playwriting:
4. The impossibility of women playwrights
5. Textual assaults: women's novels on stage
6. Victorian plays by women
Part III. Revolution:
7. Elizabeth Robins, Oscar Wilde and the 'Theatre of the Future'
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