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Home > Catalog > Slavery and Sentiment on the American Stage, 1787–1861
Slavery and Sentiment on the American Stage, 1787–1861


  • Page extent: 288 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.59 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521870115)

  • Also available in Paperback
  • Published March 2009

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$113.00 (C)

For almost a hundred years before Uncle Tom's Cabin burst on to the scene in 1852, the American theatre struggled to represent the evils of slavery. Slavery and Sentiment questions how the text, images, and performances presented to American audiences during the antebellum period engaged with the debate over black participation in American society. The book reconsiders traditional comic stereotypes like Jim Crow, as well as familiar sentimental ones, such as Uncle Tom. Using plays, poetry, performances, popular novels, and political cartoons, Heather Nathans blends American history, theatre history, and literary history to question how theatre and performance lifted the 'veil of black' on American racism in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The book contributes to the ongoing discussion of the role of African-American characters and performers in American cultural history, offering scholars in a range of fields a new perspective on a complicated moment in the nation's theatrical past.


Introduction; 1. A nation's promise; 2. The rules change; 3. Fantasies of Africa; 4. Sentimental enterprise - Yankees and Sambos; 5. Peace or a sword?; 6. Lead us not into temptation; Epilogue.


"From minstrelsy to open propaganda from both sides of the abolition debate the author introduces the reader to a stunning kaleidoscope of Black characters and their varying functions in the respective plays....The author has to be applauded first and foremost for keeping the scope of her study wide and also presenting plays and developments from the pro-slavery faction...Slavery and Sentiment on the American Stage 1787-1861 by Heather S. Nathans is an achievement which should not be underestimated...a volume which satisfies the reader interested in the history of slavery in the US just as well as the reader focusing on the history of drama. The in-depth outline of the history of the politics of slavery make the book a compendium which can impressively shed light on the developments that – after all – led to a war which the United States has up to our days not forgotten and which has an impact on modern relations within the Union...More work of this academic density is definitely desired in this field."
-Michael Heinze, TheaterForschung

"..the book is certainly essential to the understanding of the early American stage."
-JUDIE NEWMAN, Journal of American Studies

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