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Representing Shakespearean Tragedy


  • Page extent: 258 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.55 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 792.9/5
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: PR3106 .O93 2007
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Shakespeare, William,--1564-1616--Stage history--England--London
    • Shakespeare, William,--1564-1616--Stage history--1625-1800
    • Shakespeare, William,--1564-1616--Stage history--1800-19
    • Garrick, David,--1717-1779--Performances
    • Kemble, John Philip,--1757-1823--Performances

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521879859)

Reiko Oya explores theatrical expressions of Shakespearean tragedy in Georgian London and the relations between the representative players of the time - David Garrick, John Philip Kemble and his sister Sarah Siddons, and Edmund Kean - and their close circle of friends. The book begins by analysing the tragic emotion that Garrick conveyed through his performance of King Lear, and the responses to it from such critics as Samuel Johnson and Elizabeth Montagu. The second chapter examines the concept of sublimity in Kemble and Siddons' interpretations of Macbeth. The final chapter studies the disparity between the literary and the theatrical Hamlet in Kean's impersonation and William Hazlitt's response to it. With subjects ranging from Shakespearean promptbooks to paintings and the poetics of Romanticism, the book offers great insights into the exchange of ideas and inspirations among the cultural luminaries who surrounded the London stage.

• Covers a wide range of cultural phenomena of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries • Offers a model for a cultural approach to Shakespeare, combining acting, criticism, painting and playwriting with biographical anecdotes • Accessibly written, the book is divided into three main sections which discuss King Lear, Macbeth and Hamlet


Introduction: Garrick's prologue; 1. Winding up 'th'untuned and jarring senses': Garrick, King Lear, and contemporary theatrical/literary criticism; 2. 'Who dares do more': Kemble, Siddons, and the question of sublimity in Macbeth; 3. 'Speak the speech, I pray you': Kean, Hamlet, and the Romantic 'playwrights'; Conclusion: Kean's farewell.


'I must say that this is an awe-inspiring scholarly approach to drawing together and relating a vast amount of different materials.' Angela Kikue Davenport, University of Tokyo

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