ISBN : 9780199642847
Richard Brinsley Sheridan is best known as the author of two of the English stage's most popular comedies, The Rivals and The School for Scandal. In his own lifetime, however, Sheridan was as renowned a politician as he was a playwright, and during a parliamentary career that spanned thirty-two years - the large majority of which he spent in opposition - he was an advocate of reform, a supporter of the French Revolution and of Irish independence, and a fierce critic of the government's curtailment of civil liberties. Drawing upon a wide range of sources, from previously unpublished manuscript materials to political pamphlets and satirical cartoons, Theatres of Opposition rehabilitates this too often forgotten figure, and offers the first detailed examination of the complex simultaneity and interconnectedness of Sheridan's theatrical and political practices. Moreover, by tracing the artistic and professional trajectory of Sheridan as a playwright, radical parliamentarian, celebrated orator, and playhouse manager, this book sheds important new light on the overlap between theatrical and political cultures in London during the last thirty years of the eighteenth century. Sheridan, Taylor contends, provides a prism through which we can revise our understanding of the ways in which the sites of power and performance habitually bled into one another at this time. Excavating a theatrical politics as precise as it is problematic, Theatres of Opposition speaks to a spectrum of interests, from theatre and political histories to the studies of oratory and visual culture.
List of Abbreviations
List of Illustrations
Prologue: 'The Atlas of the Stage and State'
PART I: REPRESENTING (MIS)REPRESENTATIONS
1. First Principles: the American War and the 'Playwright Patriot'
2. 1. 'Gross Deceptions': Newspapers, Theatre, and the Propaganda War
PART II: RHETORICS OF ATROCITY
3. Tyranny in India
or, Britain's Character Lost. A Tragedy
4. 'Hear Me!': Pizarro and the Politics of Silence
PART III: REVOLUTIONARY STAGE EFFECTS
Managing Performance: State, Spectacle, Spectator
'A System of Terror': The Scenography of Incarceration
Epilogue: 'Sherry Andrews' and the Antitheatricality of Politics