Catalogue


Rival queens : actresses, performance, and the eighteenth-century British theater /
Felicity Nussbaum.
imprint
Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, c2010.
description
383 p. : ill.
ISBN
0812242335 (alk. paper), 9780812242331 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, c2010.
isbn
0812242335 (alk. paper)
9780812242331 (alk. paper)
contents note
Introduction: at stage's edge -- The economics of celebrity -- "Real, beautiful women": rival queens -- Actresses' memoirs: exceptional virtue -- Actresses and patrons: the theatrical contract -- The actress and performative property: Catherine Clive -- The actress, travesty, and nation: Margaret Woffington -- The actress and material femininity: Frances Abington -- Epilogue: contracted virtue.
catalogue key
7098566
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2010-10-01:
In this extraordinary study, Nussbaum (UCLA) provides a detailed reassessment of the position, power, celebrity, and talent of those 18th-century actresses she identifies as "legitimate professionals," "celebrity actresses," or "star women players." Drawing inspiration from Nathaniel Lee's play The Rival Queens (1677), a heroic tragedy of female rivalry, the author focuses on the truly exceptional actresses who vied for recognition and position during the 18th century--primarily Anne Oldfield, Catherine Clive, Margaret Woffington, Frances Abington, Susannah Cibber, and George Anne Bellamy--giving special attention to the late-18th-century performance of Sarah Siddons, whose reputation and status owe most to these predecessors. Moving her investigation away from the usual "proper lady/prostitute" proposition so often the focus of such studies, Nussbaum instead considers this group "as exemplary of critical issues raised by their unprecedented incursion into public spaces." She summarizes her major findings thusly: "The most ambitious and successful actresses penetrated bourgeois life, fashionable society, and the court to stimulate the aesthetic, commercial, professional, and personal desires of women from apprentice milliners to city wives to ladies of quality." With her exhaustive research, notes, illustrations, and persuasive, eloquently presented arguments, Nussbaum makes a strong, revisionist case. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. D. B. Wilmeth emeritus, Brown University
Reviews
Review Quotes
Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2010
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, October 2010
The Times (London), February 2011
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Summaries
Main Description
In eighteenth-century England, actresses were frequently dismissed as mere prostitutes trading on their sexual power rather than their talents. Yet they were, Felicity Nussbaum argues, central to the success of a newly commercial theater. Urban, recently moneyed, and thoroughly engaged with their audiences, celebrated actresses were among the first women to achieve social mobility, cultural authority, and financial independence. In fact, Nussbaum contends, the eighteenth century might well be called the "age of the actress" in the British theater, given women's influence on the dramatic repertory and, through it, on the definition of femininity. Treating individual star actresses who helped spark a cult of celebrity-especially Anne Oldfield, Susannah Cibber, Catherine Clive, Margaret Woffington, Frances Abington, and George Anne Bellamy- Rival Queens reveals the way these women animated issues of national identity, property, patronage, and fashion in the context of their dramatic performances. Actresses intentionally heightened their commercial appeal by catapulting the rivalries among themselves to center stage. They also boldly rivaled in importance the actor-managers who have long dominated eighteenth-century theater history and criticism. Felicity Nussbaum combines an emphasis on the celebrated actresses themselves with close analysis of their diverse roles in works by major playwrights, including George Farquhar, Nicholas Rowe, Colley Cibber, Arthur Murphy, David Garrick, Isaac Bickerstaff, and Richard Sheridan. Hers is a comprehensive and original argument about the importance of actresses as the first modern subjects, actively shaping their public identities to make themselves into celebrated properties.
Main Description
Focusing on such popular figures as the stage Jew, Scot, and Irishman, Michael Ragussis reveals the crucial role the theater played in developing, maintaining, and questioning the ethnic stereotypes through which the identity of the English nation was defined. Book jacket.
Main Description
In eighteenth-century England, actresses were frequently dismissed as mere prostitutes trading on their sexual power rather than their talents. Yet they were, Felicity Nussbaum argues, central to the success of a newly commercial theater. Urban, newly moneyed, and thoroughly engaged with their audiences, celebrated actresses were among the first women to achieve social mobility, cultural authority, and financial independence. In fact, Nussbaum contends, the eighteenth century might well be called the "age of the actress" in the British theater, given women's influence on the dramatic repertory and, through it, on the definition of femininity. Treating individual star actresses who helped spark a cult of celebrity-especially Anne Oldfield, Susannah Cibber, Catherine Clive, Margaret Woffington, Frances Abington, and George Anne Bellamy-Rival Queensreveals the way these women animated issues of national identity, property, patronage, and fashion in the context of their dramatic performances. Actresses intentionally heightened their commercial appeal by catapulting the rivalries among themselves to center stage. They also boldly rivaled in importance the actor-managers who have long dominated eighteenth-century theater history and criticism. Felicity Nussbaum combines an emphasis on the celebrated actresses themselves with close analysis of their diverse roles in works by major playwrights, including George Farquhar, Nicholas Rowe, Colley Cibber, Arthur Murphy, David Garrick, Isaac Bickerstaff, and Richard Sheridan. Hers is a comprehensive and original argument about the importance of actresses as the first modern subjects, actively shaping their public identities to make themselves into celebrated properties.
Main Description
In eighteenth-century England, actresses were frequently dismissed as mere prostitutes trading on their sexual power rather than their talents. Yet they were, Felicity Nussbaum argues, central to the success of a newly commercial theater. Urban, recently moneyed, and thoroughly engaged with their audiences, celebrated actresses were among the first women to achieve social mobility, cultural authority, and financial independence. In fact, Nussbaum contends, the eighteenth century might well be called the "age of the actress" in the British theater, given women's influence on the dramatic repertory and, through it, on the definition of femininity. Treating individual star actresses who helped spark a cult of celebrity-especially Anne Oldfield, Susannah Cibber, Catherine Clive, Margaret Woffington, Frances Abington, and George Anne Bellamy-Rival Queens reveals the way these women animated issues of national identity, property, patronage, and fashion in the context of their dramatic performances. Actresses intentionally heightened their commercial appeal by catapulting the rivalries among themselves to center stage. They also boldly rivaled in importance the actor-managers who have long dominated eighteenth-century theater history and criticism. Felicity Nussbaum combines an emphasis on the celebrated actresses themselves with close analysis of their diverse roles in works by major playwrights, including George Farquhar, Nicholas Rowe, Colley Cibber, Arthur Murphy, David Garrick, Isaac Bickerstaff, and Richard Sheridan. Hers is a comprehensive and original argument about the importance of actresses as the first modern subjects, actively shaping their public identities to make themselves into celebrated properties.
Table of Contents
Introduction: At Stage's Edgep. 1
The Economics of Celebrityp. 31
“Real, Beautiful Women”: Rival Queensp. 61
Actresses' Memoirs: Exceptional Virtuep. 92
Actresses and Patrons: The Theatrical Contractp. 122
The Actress and Performative Property: Catherine Clivep. 151
The Actress, Travesty, and Nation: Margaret Woffingtonp. 189
The Actress and Material Femininity: Frances Abingtonp. 226
Epilogue: Contracted Virtuep. 265
Notesp. 285
Bibliographyp. 339
Indexp. 365
Acknowledgmentsp. 381
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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