Gothic Plays and American Society, 1794–1830


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SKU: 9780786433377 Categories: , , ,

About the Book

In the aftermath of the American Revolution, the production of Gothic plays brought into sharp focus the social turmoil of the critical period between 1794 and 1830. These plays, considered the earliest form of melodrama, enhanced the repertories of the first permanent theatres in the United States.
This first full-length study of early American Gothic drama examines the relationship between Gothic plays and the developing society in which they flourished. Beginning with an introduction to the rise of Gothic fiction and drama, it discusses topics ranging from the novelty of American artistic talent and critical opinions of Gothic melodramas to the representation of women in the dramas as compared with the reality of the contemporary female plight. The history of the plays presented here reflects the conflicts surrounding American artistic endeavors and the artists who made American drama distinct from all others.

About the Author(s)

M. Susan Anthony is an associate professor of Communication and Theatre at Depauw University in Greencastle, Indiana.

Bibliographic Details

M. Susan Anthony
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 203
Bibliographic Info: 7 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3337-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

Introduction: “Gothic Mania”: Gothic Plays and American Society, 1794–1830      5

1. “Gothic America”: Dramas, Theatres, and American Society      15

2. “An Appetite for Gothic”: Productions of Gothic Plays by City, 1794–1830      24

3. “The Senseless Brawl of Barbarians”: Profane Plays and Patrons      33

4. The “Illustrious Spirit” Meets the “Sanguinary Monster”: Characterization of Males in Gothic Plays      47

5. “Angel-Maids” and “Withered Flowers”: The Gothic Heroine      61

6. “An Exquisite Treat for Feeling Minds”: Acting and the Female “Stars” of Gothic Plays      79

7. “Dreadful Thunder” and “Lurid Lightning”: Spectacle in Gothic Plays      95

8. “What Dreadful Place Is This?”: Women and Dangerous Spaces      118

9. “A Plain Unvarnish’d Tale”: Adaptations of British Plays for the American Stage      127

10. “This Sort of Thing”: Reception of Gothic Plays in America      141

11. A Gothic View of America      150

Appendix 1      159

Appendix 2      160

Appendix 3      161

Appendix 4      162

Appendix 5      163

Appendix 6      164

Appendix 7      165

Notes      167

Works Cited      187

Index      193

Book Reviews & Awards

“straight forward and engaging”—New England Theatre Journal.