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The Profession of the Playwright
British Theatre, 1800–1900


  • Date Published: December 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521034432

£ 27.99

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About the Authors
  • This book examines the working world of the playwright in nineteenth-century Britain. It was often a risky and financially uncertain profession, yet the magic of the theatre attracted authors from widely different backgrounds - journalists, lawyers, churchmen, civil servants, printers and actors, as well as prominent poets and novelists. In a fascinating account of the frustrations and the rewards of dramatic authorship, Stephens uncovers information on the playwright's earnings, relationships with actors, managers, publishers and audience, and offers a perspective on his growing status as a professional. Further chapters focus on the struggle for copyright reform and the complexities of dramatic publishing. A large number of major and minor authors are discussed, among them Planche, Fitzball, Boucicault, Pinero, Grundy, Gilbert, Jones and Shaw.

    • Examines the working world of the playwright
    • Includes information on professional status of playwright, earnings, relationships with actors, managers and publishers
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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521034432
    • length: 276 pages
    • dimensions: 215 x 138 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.353kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of abbreviations
    1. The smell of lamps and orange peel
    2. 'A devil of a trade'
    3. The profit-sharing revolution
    4. Piracy and the defence of dramatic property
    5. Booksellers and dramatic publishing
    6. From wings to centre stage
    7. The new professionals
    Index of plays and playwrights
    General index.

  • Author

    John Russell Stephens

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