A Strange Eventful History: The Dramatic Lives of Ellen Terry, Henry Irving and Their Remarkable Families (Hardback)

by Michael Holroyd

Format: Hardback 640 pages

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Ellen Terry was a natural actress who filled the theatre with a magical radiance. "The Times" called her the 'uncrowned queen of England' but behind her public success lay a darker story. The child-bride of G. F. Watts, she eloped with a friend of Oscar Wilde at 21 and gave birth to 2 illegitimate children. But her greatest partnership was on-stage, with legendary actor-manager and tragedian Henry Irving. At the Lyceum Theatre in London, the two of them created a grand Cathedral of the Arts.Their intimately-involved lives exceeded in plot the Shakespearean dramas they performed on stage - and indeed were curiously affected by them. They also influenced the life and work of their remarkable children, Ellen's children in particular. Edy Craig, who founded a feminist theatre group, The Pioneer Players, established a lesbian community whose complex love-affairs make those of the Bloomsbury Group appear quite conventional. Her brother, Edward Gordon Craig, the revolutionary stage designer who collaborated with Stanislavski on a spectacular production of "Hamlet" in Moscow, is revealed by this book to be the forgotten man of modernism. He had 13 children by 8 women (including the famous American dancer Isadora Duncan) - perhaps the most extraordinary man Michael Holroyd has ever written about.

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Chatto & Windus


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