Catalogue


W.S. Gilbert : a classic Victorian and his theatre /
Jane W. Stedman.
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1996.
description
xviii, 374 p. : ill.
ISBN
0198161743
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1996.
isbn
0198161743
catalogue key
1701802
 
Includes bibliographical references.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 1996-11-01:
Lovers of Gilbert and Sullivan will be in heaven with the publication of these two books, which nicely complement each other. Stedman (English, Roosevelt Univ., Chicago) offers an outstanding study of this playwright and his often overlooked works, with much of its value deriving from its study of Gilbert without Sullivan. The author is a recognized expert on Gilbert as well as the Victorian time period, and she shows him to be a complex and interesting man who often found himself at odds with his time. Stedman highlights his contribution to Victorian theater as a forerunner of Wilde and Shaw. She also exposes some of the myths about Gilbert (and his relationship with Sullivan) that have been perpetrated by earlier writers. The index and bibliography are excellent. The annotated collection serves a dual purpose: Readers can now sing along with any Gilbert and Sullivan song and know all the words, and they will understand everything the song was meant to convey. This volume combines two previously published paperbacks from Penguin and adds the libretti to The Grand Duke and Utopia Limited. All notes are on the left page, and the actual song texts (complete with stage directions) are on the facing right page. There are also new introductions to each opera, a new introduction to the volume, and corrections to the original text. Print and text layout are very good. Both titles are recommended for public and academic libraries, as well as libraries with theater holdings.-Susan L. Peters, Emory Univ., Atlanta, Ga. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 1997-02-01:
This book will be compared inevitably with its companion volume, Arthur Jacobs's first-rate Arthur Sullivan: A Victorian Musician (CH, Jan'85). Stedman (Roosevelt Univ.) deserves equal praise. Indefatigably researched, and benefiting from the availability of new materials, her volume transports the reader into an era whose atmosphere is gradually fading as the years pass, an age of "topsy-turveydom" and whimsy, as is so ably satirized by Gilbert, an age of a paradoxical admixture of double standards for women and dramatists, problems of piracy of literary works and copyrights both in England and the US, and above all the teeming, pulsating theatrical world of the late 19th century. The book is as exciting and entertaining as any Gilbert and Sullivan production. Like his collaborator Sullivan, Schwenk Gilbert aspired to become a serious dramatist but achieved his greatest fame in the Savoy operettas. Here is the full story of the "Babs ballads," the years with Fun magazine, the meeting with Sullivan and Richard D'Oyly Carte, his happy marriage to Kitty Turner, the seemingly endless litigation and problems with actors, and the eventual breakup of the Savoy trio--Schwenk Gilbert, Arthur Sullivan, and the D'Oyly Cartes. An excellent book highly recommended to all readers. G. Muns emeritus, Eastern Kentucky University
Reviews
Review Quotes
'it is an absorbing study of Victorian literary ... It is of most interest... in its depiction of Victorian theatre and its structure'Peter Hepple, The Stage
'never less than convincing, and the facts themselves are well worth having ... True to her promise, Stedman pays particularly close attention to Gilbert's early career ... Stedman paints an attractive picture of his final years on his estate near Bushey.'John Gross, Sunday Telegraph
'A most thorough and painstaking piece of research which corrects some of the more fanciful episodes which have passed into theatrical folklore ... a book which will undoubtedly become the definitive account of Gilbert's life'Richard Fawkes, Classical Music
'never less than convincing, and the facts themselves are well worthhaving ... True to her promise, Stedman pays particularly close attention toGilbert's early career ... Stedman paints an attractive picture of his finalyears on his estate near Bushey.'John Gross, Sunday Telegraph
'pleads his case most persuasively, as well as bringing his prickly personality successfully to life'Charles Osborne, Daily Telegraph
'pleads his case most persuasively, as well as bringing his pricklypersonality successfully to life'Charles Osborne, Daily Telegraph
'this is an important and invaluable book, reaching well beyond the scope of adulatory or critical biography ... One of the notable strengths of her book lies in Stedman's recognition of Gilbert's continual involvement, equally as a writer, director, and entrepreneur in the intricate dailycommerce of theatre.'David Mayer, Theatre Notebook 1997, Volume LI Number 2
'this is an important and invaluable book, reaching well beyond the scopeof adulatory or critical biography ... One of the notable strengths of her booklies in Stedman's recognition of Gilbert's continual involvement, equally as awriter, director, and entrepreneur in the intricate daily commerce of theatre.'David Mayer, Theatre Notebook 1997, Volume LI Number 2
'a well-researched piece of work which uses a broad range of information,the sources of which are given in thorough footnotes ... The book is fluentlywritten and well produced ... Jane Stedman has made a valuable contribution tothe literature on Gilbert in that she provides a detailed account of his lifeand straightens out misconceptions about him. Her book will be essentialreading for anyone who needs a detailed and generally unbiased commentary onGilbert's career.'Paul Rodmell, Music and Letters
'excellent book ... Gilbert emerges as a considerably more convoluted and wide-ranging personage than has perhaps been generally appreciated, a true Victorian ... Professor Stedman presents a wonderful evocation of the vanished, quasi-bohemian, burlesque world of the 1860s and '70s ... Theaccount which Professor Stedman provides of those first stages of his, and the long, long lost theatricals of his youth and early middle age, raises most valuably a great many fallen curtains, 'All for our delight'.'Contemporary Review
'excellent book ... Gilbert emerges as a considerably more convoluted andwide-ranging personage than has perhaps been generally appreciated, a trueVictorian ... Professor Stedman presents a wonderful evocation of the vanished,quasi-bohemian, burlesque world of the 1860s and '70s ... The account whichProfessor Stedman provides of those first stages of his, and the long, long losttheatricals of his youth and early middle age, raises most valuably a great manyfallen curtains, 'All for our delight'.'Contemporary Review
'Gilbert's early days are painstakingly chronicled by Stedman, an American expert in Victorian theatre, who has had access to a cast range of source material.'Humphrey Carpenter, The Sunday Times
'Gilbert's early days are painstakingly chronicled by Stedman, an Americanexpert in Victorian theatre, who has had access to a cast range of sourcematerial.'Humphrey Carpenter, The Sunday Times
'it is an absorbing study of Victorian literary ... It is of most interest ... in its depiction of Victorian theatre and its structure'Peter Hepple, The Stage
'a well-researched piece of work which uses a broad range of information, the sources of which are given in thorough footnotes ... The book is fluently written and well produced ... Jane Stedman has made a valuable contribution to the literature on Gilbert in that she provides a detailedaccount of his life and straightens out misconceptions about him. Her book will be essential reading for anyone who needs a detailed and generally unbiased commentary on Gilbert's career.'Paul Rodmell, Music and Letters
'A most thorough and painstaking piece of research which corrects some ofthe more fanciful episodes which have passed into theatrical folklore ... a bookwhich will undoubtedly become the definitive account of Gilbert's life'Richard Fawkes, Classical Music
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews, October 1996
Library Journal, November 1996
Choice, February 1997
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This biography takes W. S. Gilbert through his entire life, discussing his journalism, including the Bab Ballads, his non-Sullivan plays such as The Wicked World, and his collaborations with other musicians in the 1890s.
Long Description
Sir William Schwenck Gilbert (1836-1911) was the most brilliant dramatist of Victorian England. His plays were considered daring and cynical, and he was the forerunner of Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw. He was also a prolific journalist and humorous poet (his Bab Ballads are still widely read), and he achieved worldwide fame through his long collaboration with the composer Arthur Sullivan. The libretti of H.M.S Pinafore, The Mikado, and all the other Savoy Operas were written by Gilbert, and the story of their often stormy relationship is here chronicled by a renowned authority on Gilbert's life and on the theatrical and literary scene in Victorian London. For this biography Jane Stedman has returned to original sources, has interviewed survivors, and has scoured a whole variety of Victorian periodicals for reviews and personal comment. Gilbert emerges as a much more complex and interesting figure than has previously been thought, and the book is a worthy companion piece to Arthur Jacobs's recent biography Arthur Sullivan: A Victorian Musician.
Long Description
W. S. Gilbert was one of the giants of nineteenth-century Victorian theatre. He was already the leading young dramatist of his day when he began his celebrated collaboration with Arthur Sullivan, a partnership that produced the great Savoy Operas--still the most popular light operas in the world--and established him at the pinacle of his craft. Now, in W. S. Gilbert: A Classic Victorian and His Theatre, Jane W. Stedman provides an insightful biography of this major theatrical figure. To write this biography, Stedman has returned to the original sources, has talked or corresponded with survivors of Gilbert's generation who knew him, researched deeply into Victorian publications such as Punch, Athenaeum, and Theatre, and has had access to hitherto unpublished materials. The result is not only the most accurate biography of Gilbert ever written, but also the most finely textured, revealing a Gilbert of more complexity and interest than has emerged before. Stedman covers his entire career, including his early journalism, his writing of the Bab Ballads (which are still in print today), theatrical works such as The Palace of Truth, The Wicked World, and Pygmalion and Galatea, and of course his collaboration with Arthur Sullivan. The author also illuminates Gilbert's private life, including a hitherto undiscovered early romantic attachment, and his life-long work for the social acceptance of the theatre and of theatre people, both on and off the stage. A perfect companion volume to Arthur Jacobs's Arthur Sullivan: A Victorian Musician, this deeply researched, vividly written biography will enthrall all fans of Gilbert and Sullivan and anyone interested in the Victorian theatre.
Main Description
W. S. Gilbert was one of the giants of nineteenth-century Victorian theatre. He was already the leading young dramatist of his day when he began his celebrated collaboration with Arthur Sullivan, a partnership that produced the great Savoy Operas--still the most popular light operas in the world--and established him at the pinacle of his craft. Now, in W. S. Gilbert: A Classic Victorian and His Theatre , Jane W. Stedman provides an insightful biography of this major theatrical figure. To write this biography, Stedman has returned to the original sources, has talked or corresponded with survivors of Gilbert's generation who knew him, researched deeply into Victorian publications such as Punch, Athenaeum , and Theatre , and has had access to hitherto unpublished materials. The result is not only the most accurate biography of Gilbert ever written, but also the most finely textured, revealing a Gilbert of more complexity and interest than has emerged before. Stedman covers his entire career, including his early journalism, his writing of the Bab Ballads (which are still in print today), theatrical works such as The Palace of Truth, The Wicked World , and Pygmalion and Galatea , and of course his collaboration with Arthur Sullivan. The author also illuminates Gilbert's private life, including a hitherto undiscovered early romantic attachment, and his life-long work for the social acceptance of the theatre and of theatre people, both on and off the stage. A perfect companion volume to Arthur Jacobs's Arthur Sullivan: A Victorian Musician , this deeply researched, vividly written biography will enthrall all fans of Gilbert and Sullivan and anyone interested in the Victorian theatre.
Main Description
Sir William Schwenck Gilbert (1836-1911) was the most brilliant dramatist of Victorian England. His plays were considered daring and cynical, and he was the forerunner of Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw. He was also a prolific journalist and humorous poet (his Bab Ballads are still widelyread), and he achieved worldwide fame through his long collaboration with the composer Arthur Sullivan. The libretti of H.M.S Pinafore, The Mikado, and all the other Savoy Operas were written by Gilbert, and the story of their often stormy relationship is here chronicled by a renowned authority onGilbert's life and on the theatrical and literary scene in Victorian London. For this biography Jane Stedman has returned to original sources, has interviewed survivors, and has scoured a whole variety of Victorian periodicals for reviews and personal comment. Gilbert emerges as a much more complex and interesting figure than has previously been thought, and the book is aworthy companion piece to Arthur Jacobs's recent biography Arthur Sullivan: A Victorian Musician.
Main Description
W. S. Gilbert was one of the giants of nineteenth-century Victorian theatre. He was already the leading young dramatist of his day when he began his celebrated collaboration with Arthur Sullivan, a partnership that produced the great Savoy Operas--still the most popular light operas in the world--and established him at the pinacle of his craft. Now, inW. S. Gilbert: A Classic Victorian and His Theatre, Jane W. Stedman provides an insightful biography of this major theatrical figure. To write this biography, Stedman has returned to the original sources, has talked or corresponded with survivors of Gilbert's generation who knew him, researched deeply into Victorian publications such asPunch, Athenaeum, andTheatre, and has had access to hitherto unpublished materials. The result is not only the most accurate biography of Gilbert ever written, but also the most finely textured, revealing a Gilbert of more complexity and interest than has emerged before. Stedman covers his entire career, including his early journalism, his writing of theBab Ballads(which are still in print today), theatrical works such asThe Palace of Truth, The Wicked World, andPygmalion and Galatea, and of course his collaboration with Arthur Sullivan. The author also illuminates Gilbert's private life, including a hitherto undiscovered early romantic attachment, and his life-long work for the social acceptance of the theatre and of theatre people, both on and off the stage. A perfect companion volume to Arthur Jacobs'sArthur Sullivan: A Victorian Musician, this deeply researched, vividly written biography will enthrall all fans of Gilbert and Sullivan and anyone interested in the Victorian theatre.
Table of Contents
Curtain-Raiserp. vii
List of PLATESp. xiv
Abbreviationsp. xvii
Notesp. xviii
A Miscellany of Beginningsp. 1
The 1860s: First Pagesp. 11
The 1860s: First Stagesp. 30
Love, Marriage, Farce, and Burlesquep. 41
Babs, Reeds, and Druidessesp. 63
Burlesque into Fairy Playp. 77
A Wicked World -- A Happy Landp. 100
Problem Plays and Sweetheartsp. 114
Operatical, Comical, Tragicalp. 128
Storms and Clear Sailingp. 144
Not Poetic, but Aestheticp. 165
At the Savoyp. 187
A Short Chapter on Methodp. 211
The Mikado and Afterp. 221
Doing and Undoingp. 239
Stringing the Lyre with a Tangled Skeinp. 257
The Road to Utopiap. 278
Other Voices -- Other Tunesp. 298
Growing on the Sunny Sidep. 318
Quick Curtainp. 336
Select Bibliographyp. 351
Indexp. 361
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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