To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Chapter 10 reviews Staël’s impact on French nineteenth-century theater, from her critical discussions in treatises like De l’Allemagne, to which Romantic drama theory owes profound debts, to her own performances in Geneva and across Europe, to her substantial dramatic output, from Voltairean verse tragedies to vaudevilles and avant-garde drames, source for at least two Romantic authors including E. T. A. Hoffmann. Staël’s complex relationship to German Romanticism, from Hoffmann to Tieck and the Schlegels, gains from this review.
This chapter examines how and when British government officials considered the nation’s reputation and international standing in decisions about whether to censor literature or theatrical performances. In the early twentieth century, officials in the Home and Lord Chamberlain’s Offices, among others, were eager to appear rational to their Parisian counterparts in the hope that French officials would increase efforts to suppress obscene publications. Simultaneously, British administrators expressed disapproval of American censors, whom they viewed as unduly prudish. As the century wore on, the Americans would outpace British censors in their toleration of obscene materials, and an increasing number of British citizens came to view their government’s response to texts like Lady Chatterley’s Lover as benighted and paternalistic. The chapter argues that British censorship was not a strictly national activity but rather took place within the larger framework of international relations and a pursuit of global prestige.
This chapter argues for an integration of American theater produced across generic and institutional lines during the postwar decades into our understanding of theatrical modernism. It models thinking about theater across traditional divisions of textual drama from non-textual performance, Broadway from Off- and Off-Off-Broadway, and the avant-garde work of the 1960s from what preceded it. Theater in the midcentury was drawn toward both medial specificity and the strategic incorporation of other media, particularly film, and accordingly deployed two key formal strategies: improvisation and citation. Although important to theater in diverse ways before modernism, these became widespread, self-conscious tactics of postwar theater across generic lines, and expanded and developed over the 1950s and 1960s. The chapter closes with a reading of The Living Theatre’s 1959 production of The Connection as an exemplary case study.
This wide-ranging conversation, for the first time, attempts to trace possible resonances between Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s thinking of translation going all the way back to her influential essay The Politics of Translation published 25 years ago, and various ideas of performance. She begins by saying that the question might be more complex than simply positing a relationship between translation and performance. Instead, she refers the reader/listener first to Derrida’s notion of spacing as the place to begin thinking about non-languaged aspects of meaning-making (approaching, in this sense, the spatial, non-verbal attributes of theatre and performance), and as such the work of death; and second, to the idea that translation takes place after the death of the sonic/phonic body of language. The interview ends by way of Spivak’s reflections on her experience of translating a play, the futures of créolité, and the pitfalls of machine translation.
Chapter 2 gives a reading of the obscure work The Nightwatches by the dramatist August Klingemann. The protagonist Kreuzgang is an odd outsider, highly critical of society around him. He is a night watchman, who goes out each night and observes people in their ordinary lives. Kreuzgang begins with some semblance of normalcy but then becomes increasingly disenchanted with the world until he finally fully embraces nihilism. Klingemann presents a mishmash of carefully framed scenes of horror and despair. It is a gallery of personalities with strange images and stories. People are portrayed as vain, pretentious, cruel, and hypocritical. The work raises the question of whether we, as human beings, are really anything beyond the social masks that we wear. Theater metaphors are often used to emphasize the idea there is nothing substantial in human life, but we are all playing meaningless roles, and then we die. Kreuzgang’s description of his fellow inmates in the insane asylum reveals an inverted world where what is usually accepted as reasonable by mainstream society is in fact irrational, and vice versa. The mad are the sane in an insane world.
Vadim Shneyder provides a financial biography of Chekhov as an upwardly mobile freelance literary laborer against the backdrop of Russia’s economic expansion and transition to a money-driven economy. Shneyder traces the rapid development of industrialization in Russia in the 1890s, driven largely by the expansion of the rail network, and examines how this new environment both appears in Chekhov’s works and shaped the conditions of their production.
Anna Muza surveys the theatrical traditions that Chekhov inherited at the end of the nineteenth century. Muza examines the influence of the “old forms” on Chekhov: the works of Shakespeare and Molière, of such nineteenth-century Russian playwrights as Griboyedov and Ostrovsky – and possibly most important of all – the lower-end fare that Chekhov enjoyed as a young reviewer, the vaudeville and farcical devices that he eventually raised to the level of high art.
This chapter explores the spectacles of gladiators, bare-knuckle boxing, and the early theater. Wild, violent bodies were banned in Rome and America: the gladiator excluded from civic participation and protections; boxing matches banned through much of the nineteenth century. Both bodies were marked by wounds, but even more by a brashness and ruggedness that was contrary to standards of elite decorum. These bodies were the object of elite condemnation as uncivilized, uneducated, and unrefined. And these bodies were the object of the gaze, put on display to perform to the expectations of the audience. The problem is that boundaries of exclusion prove to be permeable. And these boundaries prove to be permeable because the lawless, uncivilized bodies replay the role of violence in constituting a founding identity. The conquest of wild, lawless nature in the name of civilization required a type of body, one that could act with similar violent wildness. To the chagrin of certain elites, the taboo body comes to be valorized, grafted and grafting itself onto the rugged origins embedded in the founding ideal.
St. Helena’s theatrical culture after 1770 reflects South Atlantic links with slavery, revolution and theater, soon to be reanimated by the arrival and residence of defeated emperor Napoleon in 1815. A transhemispheric crossroads where the British worlds of the north and south, east and west literally converged, the island’s theatrical and social life provides a finale to this study’s examination of theater and performance in the British empire. Three specific performances – one in Richmond, London, of St. Helena, or the Isle of Love (1776), and two in St. Helena, The Revenge in 1817 (to which Napoleon was invited) and Inkle and Yarcio in 1822, after the island-wide agreement ot abolish slavery, demonstrated the systemic nature of empire, the fictions of race that it perpetrated and the performativies of human difference that undermined its structures. The Saints were transucltural players in a wider, violent and acquistitive imperial drama, performers of a hybrid and syncretic Englishness that acknowledged its diverse sources.
This chapter outlines how the travels of Rowe’s Fair Penitent across Kingston, Calcutta and Sydney accumulated meanings related to the theatricality of state and colonial power, the counter-theater of the subaltern, whether women, Indigenous, enslaved or incarcerated, and the need for limits on patriarchal privilege if national reproduction were to be successful in alien settings and on other people’s lands.
The introduction provides an overview of certain recurring subjects of the study, including music’s role in fostering the “good cheer” of the banquet, the power of metasympotic representations, the use of music for communication and display, the social and political aspects of self- and class-display through social music, ways in which elite music-making at archaic and classical symposia influenced customs of later periods and their interpretation, and the interconnections between dining and the festival/theater in all periods.
The performance of Edward Young’s The Revenge in Sydney in 1796 is used as a way to recast British-Aboriginal relations in the early years of the British invasion. Sydney became an amphitheater of struggle over contending claims of British and Aboriginal authorities, Eora clans who refused to give up their lands, exiled British felons of all sexes enraged at their fates, soldiers and sailors who bewailed their exile: revenge was on many people’s minds. How was The Revenge going to be interpreted in such a setting, by such a multitude?
How did blackness and whiteness figure in the patterns of life and represenation that moved across the eighteenth-century theatrical empire? Performances of blackface characters in colonial environments – in this case of Mungo, the enslaved Black Servant in the comic opera The Padlock – could take the lead in parsing, categorizing and enacting typologies of "darker-skinned" peoples with lasting effects – an embodied form of racial "knowledge" that undergirded the subordination of non-British peoples in the construction of a global laboring class.
The group music-making at aristocratic symposia, described in Chapter 1, developed in a sixth-century social context where ordinary people (the demos) were gaining power in ways that threatened elite claims to superiority and oligarchic right to rule. In this cultural environment, sympotic music-making by upper-class men, “gentlemanly lyrody,” served as a symbol of the superiority that elites arrogated to themselves and expected ordinary people to respect. The ability to perform a certain repertoire to self-accompaniment was a badge of social superiority. This lyrody was directly connected to the refined education that aristocratic boys received; when practiced at adult men’s symposia, it represented a display of paideia. The chapter also examines the question of whether nonelites eventually acquired the skills and repertoire of gentlemanly lyrody, which might have robbed it of its social cachet; and what happened to that cachet when increasing numbers of professional musicians came to dominate the entertainment scene, offering a popular new music for the stage that eventually entered the drinking party. The chapter also considers evidence that some elites did not participate in the sympotic musical culture of their class.
How a theatrical way of viewing the world, and the performance of English theatre in foreign domains, shaped empirical social theories, secured sovereignty, seized geopolitical space and claimed both knowlege and power over the others on whose land they lived. Provincializing metropolitan culture was crucial to the task.
Why did Britons get up a play wherever they went? Kathleen Wilson reveals how the performance of English theater and a theatricalized way of viewing the world shaped the geopolitics and culture of empire in the long eighteenth century. Ranging across the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans to encompass Kingston, Calcutta, Fort Marlborough, St. Helena and Port Jackson as well as London and provincial towns, she shows how Britons on the move transformed peripheries into historical stages where alternative collectivities were enacted, imagined and lived. Men and women of various ethnicities, classes and legal statuses produced and performed English theater in the world, helping to consolidate a national and imperial culture. The theater of empire also enabled non-British people to adapt or interpret English cultural traditions through their own performances, as Englishness also became a production of non-English peoples across the globe.
Stage talk is a style that makes theater out of one’s own mastery of talk by generating a density of formal coherence in place of the messiness that ordinary conversation entails. As Erving Goffman has proposed, “[e]very transmission … is necessarily subject to ‘noise.’” In conversation, this noise manifests as interruptions, overlaps, false starts, rewinds, and other influencies. And yet we manage to filter out such static as extraneous to the conversation at hand, often with such success that we might be surprised to discover their inclusion in a transcript of what we had just experienced. Stage talk aestheticizes the idealization of form that subtends representations of speech: It purifies the noise that defines ordinary talk – interruptions, false starts, gaffes are gone – in order to impart utterance a conspicuous poetic coherence. The actor who delivers this language to audiences assembled at a playhouse constitutes the early modern period’s animating fantasy of publicness, which is the fantasy that a style of talk can turn one from a stranger into a spectacle for other strangers to imitate.
This essay models how scholars of theatrical culture, especially when navigating the textual archive, can use the nineteenth-century repertoire to examine how movement created meaning in the nineteenth-century theater. Using A Glance at New York as a case study, the essay maps the show’s mobile rhythms to examine how they construct a sense of place, class, gender, and racial identities, and affective atmospheres that enable the audience to feel the city that lies beyond the stage.