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New Readings in Theatre History
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  • 6 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 252 pages
  • Size: 216 x 138 mm
  • Weight: 0.3 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521794633 | ISBN-10: 0521794633)

Over the last two hundred years some important ways of understanding theatre history have been undervalued or ignored by scholars. Leading theatre historian Jacky Bratton employs new approaches to examine and challenge this development and to discover how theatre history has been chronicled and how it is interpreted. Using a series of case studies from nineteenth-century British theatre, Bratton examines the difference between the existence of 'the drama' (plays and play literature) and 'the stage' (performance, theatre building, and attendance). By rejecting literary history, Bratton experiments with other ways of analysing the past, and the ways that have actually seemed relevant to the people on stage. This book suggests new histories: of theatrical story-telling, of performing families, and of the disregarded dramatic energy of Victorian entertainment. As a result, we gain a new perspective on theatre history, not only for the Romantic and Victorian periods, but for the discipline overall.

• Accessible introduction to key area of study (performance theory) for graduate and upper undergraduates • Provides valuable information and interpretation of nineteenth-century theatre and culture • New, polemical and controversial history which concentrates on what actors think is important in the history of their profession


Acknowledgements; Part I. Background: 1. Theatre history today; 2. British theatre history: 1708–1832; 3. Theatre in London in 1832: a new overview; 4. Theatre history and reform; Part II. Case Studies: 5. Anecdote and mimicry as history; 6. Theatre history and the discourse of the popular; 7. Claiming kin: an experiment in genealogical research; Notes; Index.


'It is an impressive and progressive post-modern peroration and the excellence of its provocative energy should propel readers of all stamps towards a revitalised relish of the stage and all its traffic.' The Times Higher Education Supplement

'When a scholar as distinguished as Jacky Bratton expresses doubts about the health of theatre history as an academic discipline, attention must be paid.' Journal of Theatre Research International

'I can't understand why this book hasn't been more loudly celebrated. It mixes challenge with delight to a quite uncommon degree, is scholarly without ever being pompous or obscure and is beautifully written.' Studies in Theatre and Performance

'This book achieves all the author sets out for herself. It is a radical rethinking of how we make and disseminate our theatre histories. For the scholar of the nineteenth-century theatre, it will surely be a field-changing volume. Professor Bratton has undoubtedly raised the bar for how we uncover, narrate, and theorise evidence of theatrical activity in this period. The questions she poses are both important and complex, and our attempts to address them will undoubtedly invigorate academic practice and debate.' Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film

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