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Ireland, Enlightenment and the English Stage, 1740-1820
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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.

Reviews

‘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

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