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Title: The fortunes of Victor Hugo's works on the London stage, 1830-60.
Author: Matthews, J. B.
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1975
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The study examines the way in which the works of Victor Hugo were received in the world of' the London theatre between 1830 and 1860. This was a period when borrowings from French sources are known to have been frequent, and yet previous research has not indicated Hugo's plays as a frequent inspiration for such borrowings. It has long been well-recognized that the critical reception of Hugo's works in the major journals in England during these years was unfavourable. In my view, this has helped to obscure what it will now be argued was an immediate, very considerable, and lasting popularity in the minor theatres, where the new audiences of the industrialized working-class found their principal amusement. In addition, a later measure of acceptance for Hugo's works at the leading theatres of the mid-century will be indicated. Indeed, one can claim that this involved Hugo to some degree in English theatrical development during a period when a more developed form of historical drama co-existed with a desire for greater realism in the theatre. Documentation for this investigation has included playbills, advertisements, manuscripts and published texts of translations and adaptations, theatrical reports, critiques in newspapers and journals, and personal records and contemporary articles, a large number of which have not been previously examined and which cast new light on the questions under discussion. Seventy-two productions of plays in London inspired by Hugolian originals are now listed, and the most significant of these receive detailed study, in a thesis divided into two parts. Part I (1830-40) considers in chronological order important first productions of English versions of Hugo's works, together with linked presentations of significance. Part II (1840-60) considers, also chronologically, the further progress of Hugo's works, first in the minor theatres and then in the major. In both parts, the theatrical circumstances surrounding productions are investigated: the text used, the actors involved, the style of presentation, the relationship between the plays presented and the desires and aspirations of their audiences, the way in which the plays were staged, the reaction they inspired. It is hoped that a juster assessment can thus be made of Hugo's place in the London theatre of the midnineteenth century - an assessment which now recognizes the significance of his works as a source for a large number of English versions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available