Women and Victorian Theatre

Women and Victorian Theatre

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Kerry Powell
Cambridge University Press
Edition: Illustrated, 12/11/1997
EAN 9780521471671, ISBN10: 0521471672

Hardcover, 218 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.6 cm
Language: English
Originally published in English

Victorian women were exhilarated by the authoritative voice and the professional opportunity that, uniquely, the theatre offered them. Victorian men, anxious to preserve their dominance in this as in every other sphere of life, sought to limit the theatre as being distinctively, irrevocably masculine. Actresses were represented as inhuman monstrosities, not women at all. Furthermore, the executive functions of theatre-manager and playwright were carefully defined as requiring supposedly masculine qualities of mind and personality. A woman playwright came to be seen as an impossibility, although their number actually increased towards the close of the nineteenth century. In this book, Kerry Powell chronicles the development of women's participation in the theatre as playwrights, actresses and managers and explores the making of the Victorian actress, gender and playwriting of the period, and the contributions these made to developments in the following century.

List of illustrations
Part I. The Making of the Victorian Actress
1. 'Think of the power-'
2. Masculine panic and the panthers of the stage
3. Actresses, managers and feminized theatre
Part II. Gender and Victorian Playwriting
4. The impossibility of women playwrights
5. Textual assaults
women's novels on stage
6. Victorian plays by women
Part III. Revolution
7. Elizabeth Robins, Oscar Wilde and the 'Theatre of the Future'