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Theatres of Opposition: Empire, Revolution, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan (Hardback)
  • Theatres of Opposition: Empire, Revolution, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan (Hardback)

Theatres of Opposition: Empire, Revolution, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan (Hardback)

Hardback 296 Pages / Published: 23/02/2012
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Richard Brinsley Sheridan is best known as the author of two of the English stage's most popular comedies, The Rivals and The School for Scandal. In his own lifetime, however, Sheridan was as renowned a politician as he was a playwright, and during a parliamentary career that spanned thirty-two years - the large majority of which he spent in opposition - he was an advocate of reform, a supporter of the French Revolution and of Irish independence, and a fierce critic of the government's curtailment of civil liberties. Drawing upon a wide range of sources, from previously unpublished manuscript materials to political pamphlets and satirical cartoons, Theatres of Opposition rehabilitates this too often forgotten figure, and offers the first detailed examination of the complex simultaneity and interconnectedness of Sheridan's theatrical and political practices. Moreover, by tracing the artistic and professional trajectory of Sheridan as a playwright, radical parliamentarian, celebrated orator, and playhouse manager, this book sheds important new light on the overlap between theatrical and political cultures in London during the last thirty years of the eighteenth century. Sheridan, Taylor contends, provides a prism through which we can revise our understanding of the ways in which the sites of power and performance habitually bled into one another at this time. Excavating a theatrical politics as precise as it is problematic, Theatres of Opposition speaks to a spectrum of interests, from theatre and political histories to the studies of oratory and visual culture.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199642847
Number of pages: 296
Weight: 484 g
Dimensions: 222 x 147 x 22 mm

an impressive study that shows how Sheridans political and theatrical activities bled into each other, with both the playhouse and parliament conceived of (by himself and others) as crucibles of opposition. Contesting a widespread tendency to see Sheridans dramatic and political activities as distinct, Taylor provides a minutely evidenced account of Sheridans career as a dramatist that places much greater emphasis on his hugely successful tragedy Pizarro. Although one might be inclined to argue with his view that Pizarro marks a radical departure from all the previous British dramatizations of the black legend, Taylor makes a powerful case for the staging of the plays anti-imperial spectacle in the context of colonial oppression in India and Ireland. * Jonathan Lamb, Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 *
Taylor has done much to bring to the fore the activist, the artful political performer ... no reader of Theatres of Opposition will ever be able to think of any of Sheridan's plays outside of the intricate web of political discourses dominating his time ... Densely written, rich in detail, and the product of not only careful reading, but also extensive research in the theatrical and political contexts in which Sheridan was seen to act, Theatres of Opposition is a demanding but rewarding study. * Sylvana Tomaselli, Eighteenth-Century Fiction *
Overall, Taylor's Theatres of Opposition brings much-needed attention to the importance of political satire and activism in theater. ... Theatres of Opposition is thoroughly researched and well structured ... Although not your standard history, because it is not a history, Taylor's work provides an interdisciplinary look into Sheridan's complex career. It is recommended for an advanced scholar interested in British politics and theater. Nonetheless, Taylor sheds light on the often overlooked career of this political activist playwright. * Timothy C. Hemmis, H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online *

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