Catalogue


Stage, page, scandals, and vandals : William E. Burton and nineteenth-century American theatre /
David L. Rinear.
imprint
Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press, c2004.
description
xvi, 283 p. : ill.
ISBN
0809325721 (hardcover : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press, c2004.
isbn
0809325721 (hardcover : alk. paper)
contents note
1. England, 1802-1834 -- 2. The making of a star actor and man of letters, 1834-1840 -- 3. Management, enemies, and bankruptcy, 1840-1842 -- 4. On the road, 1842-1844 -- The resumption of management, 1844-1848 -- Burton's Chambers Street Theatre, 1848-1850 -- Burton's Chambers Street Theatre, 1850-1852 -- Burton's Chambers Street Theatre, 1852-1856 -- 9. Burton's New Theatre, 1856-1858.
catalogue key
5149321
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
David L. Rinear is a professor of drama and the director of theatre at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2004-12-01:
Rinear (Trinity Univ., San Antonio) has written one of the finest theater biographies of the last few years. This long overdue examination of William Burton traces Burton's early years in England and his settlement in Philadelphia, where he quickly became the leading comedic star in the city. Beginning in the 1840s, Burton became a touring star before returning to theater management in New York. His innovative productions marked a mid-century change toward a more artistic theatrical style. His Shakespearean comedies were crowd favorites. As a businessman he was ahead of his time, but somewhat unscrupulous. He was also a noted literary publisher who first spotted the talent of Poe. The biography does not gloss over the more unsavory aspects of Burton's life: his abandonment of his wife in England; his potential links to vandalism of New York theaters; and his simultaneous marriages to two women at his death. The book is well written and researched, and includes numerous period illustrations. The index is incomplete, with notable omissions including Edwin Booth and the Davenports. Nonetheless, this biography will appeal to anyone interested in the theatrical, cultural, and business conditions in the years before the Civil War. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Academic and public libraries with extensive theater holdings; all popular-culture collections. M. D. Whitlatch Buena Vista University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Stage, Page, Scandals, and Vandalsis a detailed and carefully researched biography on one of nineteenth-century America's premier men of the theatre. Actor, manager, playwright, man of letters, William E. Burton was a potent force in the theatre culture of mid-century America, and a perennial favorite on the stage. Rinear's study charts his rise, his resiliency, his astonishshy;ing success, occasional failure, and the workaday fortunes of an all-around man of the theatre." Odai Johnson, University of Washington
"William E. Burton was one of the most popular comic actors and one of the most important and successful theatre manag­ers in mid-nineteenth-century America. Rinear's scholarship is superior and the thoroughness of his research is impressive. By synthesizing information from various primary documents, he has presented an informative, comprehensive account of Burton's professional and personal activities against the back­ground of the theatre of his time."-- Daniel J. Watermeier , University of Toledo
"William E. Burton was one of the most popular comic actors and one of the most important and successful theatre manag­ers in mid-nineteenth-century America. Rinear's scholarship is superior and the thoroughness of his research is impressive. By synthesizing information from various primary documents, he has presented an informative, comprehensive account of Burton's professional and personal activities against the back­ground of the theatre of his time."Daniel J. Watermeier, University of Toledo
" Stage, Page, Scandals, and Vandals is a detailed and carefully researched biography on one of nineteenth-century America's premier men of the theatre. Actor, manager, playwright, man of letters, William E. Burton was a potent force in the theatre culture of mid-century America, and a perennial favorite on the stage. Rinear's study charts his rise, his resiliency, his astonish­ing success, occasional failure, and the workaday fortunes of an all-around man of the theatre." -- Odai Johnson , University of Washington
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, December 2004
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
Main Description
In this first modern book-length biography of native Englander William E. Burton, theatre historian David L. Rinear explores Burton's diary, letters, published reviews, and various reminiscences to reveal the tumultuous personal and professional lives of the mid-nineteenth-century actor/manager and his role in American literary history.Stage, Page, Scandals, and Vandals: William E. Burton and Nineteenth-Century American Theatrealso provides insight into the cultural and artistic climate of an early period in American history when the country was still forming a national identity. Burton fled England in 1834 and came to America in the wake of a public scandal caused by his marriage to a sixteen-year-old orphan. Burton was then already married with a ten-year-old son. Settling in Philadelphia, the thirty-two-year-old actor rapidly established himself in the city's theatrical productions and quickly became an audience favorite. In 1837, while continuing to act, Burton founded and editedThe Gentleman's Magazine, a monthly literary publication later calledBurton's Gentleman's Magazine. Burton hired struggling author Edgar Allan Poe as coeditor, and the journal achieved literary acclaim as it first published many of Poe's short stories and poems. Burton sold the journal in 1841 and used the money to build a new theatre, which he managed, although the depression of the early 1840s soon drove his venture out of business. After declaring bankruptcy the following year, Burton worked as a touring actor before returning to theatre management in 1845. For the next thirteen years, Burton managed a succession of theatres in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York. Burton's work as a producer of Shakespearean comedies and romances marks him as the first of the intellectual theatre managers to raise the theatrical experience from mere popular culture to high art. Burton made a fortune in his ventures, amassed the finest private Shakespearean library in the country, and built a grand seaside estate in Glen Cove, Long Island. Shrewd in his personal affairs and in business, Burton also had a violent temper, which led him to viciously attack his competitors. His peculiar domestic relationships marred his brilliant career as an actor, manager, and man of letters; he may have been married to three women at once and lived with two of these women simultaneously. Fully revealing Burton's contributions to American culture, Rinear traces Burton's personal and professional pursuits from his emigration to his death in 1860. Bolstered by twenty-two illustrations,Stage, Page, Scandals, and Vandalssheds light on the history of American entertainment during the antebellum era, exposes the ruthless business practices required to succeed in theatre and literary magazine publishing, and reveals a sense of what constituted celebrity status in mid-nineteenth-century America.
Unpaid Annotation
This biography of William E. Burton explores Burton's diary, letters, reviews, and various reminiscences to reveal the personal and professional lives of the nineteenth-century actor/manager and his role in American literary history.
Main Description
In this first modern book-length biography of native Englander William E. Burton, theatre historian David L. Rinear explores Burton's diary, letters, published reviews, and various reminiscences to reveal the tumultuous personal and professional lives of the mid-nineteenth-century actor/manager and his role in American literary history. Stage, Page, Scandals, and Vandals: William E. Burton and Nineteenth-Century American Theatre also provides insight into the cultural and artistic climate of an early period in American history when the country was still forming a national identity. Burton fled England in 1834 and came to America in the wake of a public scandal caused by his marriage to a sixteen-year-old orphan. Burton was then already married with a ten-year-old son. Settling in Philadelphia, the thirty-two-year-old actor rapidly established himself in the city's theatrical productions and quickly became an audience favorite. In 1837, while continuing to act, Burton founded and edited The Gentleman's Magazine , a monthly literary publication later called Burton's Gentleman's Magazine . Burton hired struggling author Edgar Allan Poe as coeditor, and the journal achieved literary acclaim as it first published many of Poe's short stories and poems. Burton sold the journal in 1841 and used the money to build a new theatre, which he managed, although the depression of the early 1840s soon drove his venture out of business. After declaring bankruptcy the following year, Burton worked as a touring actor before returning to theatre management in 1845. For the next thirteen years, Burton managed a succession of theatres in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York. Burton's work as a producer of Shakespearean comedies and romances marks him as the first of the intellectual theatre managers to raise the theatrical experience from mere popular culture to high art. Burton made a fortune in his ventures, amassed the finest private Shakespearean library in the country, and built a grand seaside estate in Glen Cove, Long Island. Shrewd in his personal affairs and in business, Burton also had a violent temper, which led him to viciously attack his competitors. His peculiar domestic relationships marred his brilliant career as an actor, manager, and man of letters; he may have been married to three women at once and lived with two of these women simultaneously. Fully revealing Burton's contributions to American culture, Rinear traces Burton's personal and professional pursuits from his emigration to his death in 1860. Bolstered by twenty-two illustrations, Stage, Page, Scandals, and Vandals sheds light on the history of American entertainment during the antebellum era, exposes the ruthless business practices required to succeed in theatre and literary magazine publishing, and reveals a sense of what constituted celebrity status in mid-nineteenth-century America.
Table of Contents
List of Figuresp. IX
Prefacep. XI
Acknowledgmentsp. XV
England, 1802-1834p. 1
The Making of a Star Actor and Man of Letters, 1834-1840p. 22
Management, Enemies, and Bankruptcy, 1840-1842p. 55
On the Road, 1842-1844p. 70
The Resumption of Management, 1844-1848p. 80
The Beginning of Management in New York, 1848-1850p. 118
The Most Successful Theatre in New York, 1850-1852p. 146
The Decline of Burton's Chambers Street Theatre, 1852-1856p. 170
Burton's New Theatre, 1856-1858p. 211
The Fading Star, 1858-1860p. 233
Epilogue: Performing Respectabilityp. 243
Notesp. 253
Indexp. 275
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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