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Title: Theatrical Discourse in the Writing of William Godwin, 1790-1807
Author: O'Shaughnessy, David
ISNI:       0000 0000 7997 2515
Awarding Body: University College, University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2007
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William Godwin (1756-1836) wrote a number of plays at the height of his literary and philosophical fame at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries. Biographers have been quick to dismiss these plays as embarrassing interludes in an otherwise successful literary career. As a result critics have largely ignored these four plays. This thesis has two main objectives. Firstly; it aims to provide the first comprehensive discussion of the four plays( Each play will be situated in its own historical and political context and its composition, publication, and, where relevant, performance history will be given.The second and broader aim of the thesis is to consider the notion of theatricality in relation to Godwin's political project. 'Theatricality' in this context represents: the theatrical culture of Britain in the 1790s, that is, the world of theatre-going and dramatic spectacle in which William Godwin was a regular participant; the fact that politics itselfas historians have frequently noted - was a matter of theatre and spectacle in the period; and finally, the specific theatrical tropes that play pivotal roles in Godwin's writing. In brief, Godwin's immersion in the theatrical world of metropolitan London inevitably permeated his philosophical thinking and his writing to a significant extent and his ideas on the dissemination of the principles of Political Justice and The Enquirer are influenced by a notion of theatrical conversation. Godwin's plays need to read alongside his· novels and philosophical writings in order to understand fully the extent of his political goals.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available