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Women, Sociability and Theatre in Georgian London
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  • Page extent: 308 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.632 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521867320)

Mid-eighteenth-century London witnessed a major expansion in public culture as a result of a rapidly commercialising society. Of the many sites of entertainment, the most celebrated (and often notorious) were the Carlisle House club, the Pantheon, and the Ladies Club or Coterie. In this major study of these institutions and the fashionable sociability they epitomised, Gillian Russell examines how they transformed metropolitan cultural life. Associated with lavish masquerades, excesses of fashion, such as elaborate hairstyles, and scandalous intrigues, these venues suggested a feminisation of public life which was profoundly threatening, not least to the theatre of the period. In this highly illustrated and original contribution to the cultural history of the eighteenth century, Russell reveals fresh perspectives on the theatre and on canonical plays such as The School for Scandal, as well as suggesting a prehistory for British Romanticism.

• Interdisciplinary research in theatre studies, history, gender studies and literature • Makes use of a wide range of sources including newspapers and caricatures • Richly illustrated: explores visual aspects of the drama of the period


List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; 1. Introduction; 2. The Circle of Soho: Teresa Cornelys and Carlisle House; 3. Harmonic routs and midnight revels: the politics of masquerade; 4. 'Dissipation's hydra reign': Almack's and the Coterie; 5. 'Welcome to the Pleasure Dome': the London Pantheon; 6. Lady Bab and Mrs Ab: the woman of fashion and the theatre; 7. 'Alias, alias, alias': the trials of the Duchess of Kingston; 8. 'Lady Teazle's occupation's o'er'; 9. Conclusion; Notes; Bibliography; Index.


'Russell succeeds well in presenting a very densely peopled world where a wide variety of women, from duchesses to Bluestockings to actresses have seized center stage. Throughout, there is an impressive range of reference to modern scholars and, above all the newspapers, magazines, engravings, and cartoons of the period.' Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Theatre Research

'This is a book that links cultural history, theatre history, and gender to expand our understanding of each and to shed new light on the period as a whole.' The Journal of Theatre Survey

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