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Women and Playwriting in Nineteenth-Century Britain

Women and Playwriting in Nineteenth-Century Britain


Tracy C. Davis, Gay Gibson Cima, Ellen Donkin, Jacky Bratton, Jane Moody, Jim Davis, Beth H. Friedman-Romell, Heidi J. Holder, Katherine Newey, Susan Bennett, Denise A. Walen, Susan Carlson
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  • Date Published: May 1999
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521659826

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About the Authors
  • Why does historical memory exclude nineteenth-century women playwrights when hundreds worked prolifically across the spectrum of professional theatre, amateur theatricals, and publishing? What might it mean to adjust the collective focus of cultural historians and literary critics so that these women can come into view? This collection of essays, written by a team of leading scholars in the field, undertakes not simply to recover the names and careers of women playwrights but to call into question the whole idea of what a playwright is, and what she does, and why it matters. Gender inquiry is the start: destabilising the category of playwrights loosens the borders of theatre history, making it possible to reconceptualize theatre and drama not as a product of culture but as social processes dynamically interacting with culture.

    • First critical work on playwriting by women that looks comprehensively at the nineteenth century in Britain
    • Suitable for teaching in nineteenth-century studies, links theatre with literature, women across writing genres
    • Includes vital names and information to assist teachers in structuring courses and students in researching topics
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This collection … fulfils its promises to the reader, not only by contributing a substantial body of knowledge and criticism on the topic of the title but by raising many general theoretical issues that future scholars will ignore at their peril.' Brett Ashley Crawford, Theatre Research International

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 1999
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521659826
    • length: 312 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.46kg
    • contains: 11 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    List of contributors
    Introduction Tracy C. Davis and Ellen Donkin
    Part I. In Judgment:
    1. The sociable playwright and representative citizen Tracy C. Davis
    2. 'To be public as a genius and private as a woman': the critical framing of nineteenth-century British women playwrights Gay Gibson Cima
    3. Mrs Gore gives tit-for-tat Ellen Donkin
    Part II. Wrighting the Play:
    4. Jane Scott the writer/manager Jacky Bratton
    5. Illusions of authorship Jane Moody
    6. Sara Lane: questions of authorship Jim Davis
    Part III. Staging the State: Joanna Baillie's 'Constantine Paleologus' Beth H. Freidman-Romell
    8. 'The Lady Playwrights' and 'The Wild Tribes of the East': female dramatists in the East End theatres, 1860–80 Heidi J. Holder
    9. 'From a female pen': the proper lady as playwright in the West End theatre, 1823–44 Katherine Newey
    Part IV. Genre Trouble:
    10. Genre trouble: Joanna Baillie, Elizabeth Polack - tragic subjects, melodramatic subjects Susan Bennett
    11. Sappho in the closet Denise A. Walen
    12. Conflicted politics and circumspect comedy: women's comic playwriting in the 1890s Susan Carlson

  • Editors

    Tracy C. Davis, Northwestern University, Illinois

    Ellen Donkin, Hampshire College, Amherst, Massachusetts


    Tracy C. Davis, Gay Gibson Cima, Ellen Donkin, Jacky Bratton, Jane Moody, Jim Davis, Beth H. Friedman-Romell, Heidi J. Holder, Katherine Newey, Susan Bennett, Denise A. Walen, Susan Carlson

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