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Ireland, Enlightenment and the English Stage, 1740-1820


David O'Shaughnessy, Felicity Nussbaum, Jim Davis, Oskar Cox Jensen, Michael Burden, Robert W. Jones, Colleen Taylor, Bridget Orr, Declan Mccormack, Helen Burke
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  • Date Published: August 2019
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108498142

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About the Authors
  • The theatre was a crucial forum for the representation of Irish civility and culture for the eighteenth-century English audience. Irish actors and playwrights, operating both as individuals and within networks, were remarkably popular and potent during this period, especially in London. As ideas of Enlightenment percolated throughout Britain and Ireland, Irish theatrical practitioners - actors, managers, playwrights, critics and journalists - exploited a growing receptivity to Irish civility, and advanced a patriot agenda of political and economic autonomy. Mobility, toleration and the capacity to negotiate multiple allegiances are marked features of this Irish theatrical Enlightenment, whose ambitious participants saw little conflict between their twin loyalties to the Crown and to Ireland. This collection of essays responds to recent work in the areas of eighteenth-century theatre studies, Irish studies and Enlightenment studies. The volume's discussions of genre, colonialism, gender, race, music, slavery, and dress open up new avenues of scholarship and research across disciplines.

    • Presents a new perspective on the Irish Enlightenment
    • Draws attention to the cultural exchange between Ireland and England through the lens of theatre
    • Offers a new strand of the historiography of Irish patriotism
    • Deepens our current understanding of how theatrical culture strove for Irish economic and political autonomy
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Ireland, Enlightenment and the English Stage, 1740–1820 makes a bold and necessary intervention in the field. Its essays shed important new light on the dynamic contribution to English theatrical culture made by a multitude of Irish practitioners and also productively challenge the foundations of what we take 'the Enlightenment' to be in relation to ideas of nation, cosmopolitanism, and cultural production.' David Taylor, University of Oxford

    'Contributors to this volume stress the importance of theater as a widespread and 'sociable' form of cultural entertainment (also explored by scholars such as Gillian Russell and Jon Mee), which made it crucial in both shaping and circulating Enlightenment ideals … these essays show how much theater contributed to the spread of Enlightenment thought and to national politics, as well as how fluid the 'national' in politics could be.' Emily Hodgson Anderson, Review 19

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108498142
    • length: 282 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.59kg
    • contains: 21 b/w illus. 5 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: staging an Irish Enlightenment David O'Shaughnessy
    Part I. Representations and Resistance:
    1. Straddling: London-Irish actresses and their characters Felicity Nussbaum
    2. John Johnstone and the possibilities of Irishness, 1783–1820 Jim Davis
    3. The diminution of 'Irish' Johnstone Oskar Cox Jensen
    Part II. Symbiotic Stages: Dublin and London:
    4. Midas, Kane O'Hara and the Italians: an interplay of comedy between London and Dublin Michael Burden
    5. Trading loyalties: Richard Brinsley Sheridan, The School for Scandal and the Irish propositions Robert W. Jones
    6. Sydney Owenson, Alicia Sheridan Le Fanu and the domestic stage of post-inion politics Colleen Taylor
    Part III. Enlightened Perspectives:
    7. Civility, patriotism and performance: Cato and the Irish history play David O'Shaughnessy
    8. From Ireland to Peru: Arthur Murphy's (anti)-imperial dramaturgy Bridget Orr
    9. The provincial commencement of James Field Stanfield Declan Mccormack
    10. Worlding the village: John O'Keeffe's 'Excentric' pastorals Helen Burke.

  • Editor

    David O'Shaughnessy, Trinity College Dublin
    David O'Shaughnessy is Associate Professor of English at Trinity College Dublin. He has published widely on eighteenth-century theatre studies, including William Godwin and the Theatre (2010). Most recently, he edited 'Networks of Aspiration: The London Irish of the Eighteenth Century' which was a special issue of the journal Eighteenth-Century Life and co-edited The Letters of Oliver Goldsmith (2018).


    David O'Shaughnessy, Felicity Nussbaum, Jim Davis, Oskar Cox Jensen, Michael Burden, Robert W. Jones, Colleen Taylor, Bridget Orr, Declan Mccormack, Helen Burke

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