In this book Anthony Jenkins examines seven Victorian playwrights who, despite their own ideals and prejudices and the theatre's conservatism, tried to come to terms with such momentous subjects as womanliness, honour and money. The opening chapter briefly describes the social transformation of theatre during the century and the increasing respectability of actors and playhouses. Subsequent chapters deal with the drama of Edward Bulwer, Tom Robertson, W. S. Gilbert, H. A. Jones, Arthur Pinero, Oscar Wilde and Bernard Shaw. Each of these dramatists sought to create a theatre of ideas according to his own vision of art and society. The plays are examined within the social and political context of the Reform Bill, the Revolution of 1848, the Great Exhibition, royal patronage, censorship and copyright, and, above all, the 'Woman Question'. Jenkins combines politics and theatrical history with literary criticism to shed provocative light on the struggle to relate the London theatre to the realities of Victorian England.
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(228mm x 152mm x 22mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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