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Writing the History of the British Stage


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  • Date Published: January 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316617762

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About the Authors
  • This is the first book on British theatre historiography. It traces the practice of theatre history from its origins in the Restoration to its emergence as an academic discipline in the early twentieth century. In this compelling revisionist study, Richard Schoch reclaims the deep history of British theatre history, valorizing the usually overlooked scholarship undertaken by antiquarians, booksellers, bibliographers, journalists and theatrical insiders, none of whom considered themselves to be professional historians. Drawing together deep archival research, close readings of historical texts from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and an awareness of contemporary debates about disciplinary practice, Schoch overturns received interpretations of British theatre historiography and shows that the practice - and the diverse practitioners - of theatre history were far more complicated and far more sophisticated than we had realised. His book is a landmark contribution to how theatre historians today can understand their own history.

    • The first book-length study of British theatre historiography
    • Proposes a revisionist understanding of theatre historiography, offering readers new conceptual frameworks
    • Gives readers access to little-studied material
    Read more


    • Finalist, 2016 George Freedley Memorial Award, Theatre Library Association

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316617762
    • length: 405 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 150 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.6kg
    • contains: 28 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    Prelude. Early modern historiography
    1. Restoration booksellers as theatre historians
    2. Trivial discourses and persons not worth remembering
    3. Gerard Langbaine and his progeny
    4. John Downes and what the prompter saw
    5. The biography of Biographia Dramatica
    Interlude. The rise of narrative historiography
    6. The design of Theatrum Anglicanum
    7. Histories of my own time
    8. Edmond Malone and the search for theatrical intelligence
    9. The anxieties of John Payne Collier
    Postlude. The art and science of nineteenth-century historiography

  • Author

    Richard Schoch, Queen's University Belfast
    Richard Schoch is Professor of Drama at Queen's University Belfast. He is the author of Shakespeare's Victorian Stage (Cambridge, 1998), Not Shakespeare (Cambridge, 2002), and Queen Victoria and the Theatre of her Age (2004). He has also edited Great Shakespeareans: Macready, Booth, Terry, Irving (2011) and Victorian Theatrical Burlesques (2016). For a popular audience he wrote The Secrets of Happiness (2008), which has been translated into six languages. His books have been shortlisted for the Barnard Hewitt Award and the Theatre Book Prize. Schoch has received fellowships from the Leverhulme Trust, the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Stanford Humanities Center.


    • Finalist, 2016 George Freedley Memorial Award, Theatre Library Association

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