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Title: The theatre of Shelley : an evaluation of his dramatic technique
Author: Gabbett-Mulhallen, Jacqueline
ISNI:       0000 0001 3486 0728
Awarding Body: Anglia Ruskin University
Current Institution: Anglia Ruskin University
Date of Award: 2008
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The purpose of this thesis is to examine Shelley's drama as texts for theatrical performance in the context ofthe early nineteenth century and to question their relegation to the category 'closet drama'. I argue that not only his acknowledged stage-plays but, more controversially, even the 'lyric dramas', Hellas and Prometheus Unbound, and the satiric Swellfoot the Tyrant, are theatrical and performance-orientated in conception. To build this argument the following have been consulted: plays by late Georgian dramatists; Georgian and Regency theatre histories; biographies, memoirs and critical works oftheatrical practitioners; English and Italian newspapers and scripts held in the Larpent Collection and at La Scala, Milan. I have drawn on my experience as a performer, writer and manager of a small theatre company. Interest in Romantic theatre has been growing over the past 20 years, and I have engaged in current debate concerning the definition of that genre. I have found that A.W. Schlegel's dramatic theories support my argument for the influence of classical Greek tragedy, Athenian Old Comedy and Jacobean drama upon Shelley's drama and attitude to theatre practice. I have ascertained what performances Shelley attended, as a result of which I propose some new sources for his settings and plots. I have established the additional influence upon him of English melodrama, pantomime and burlesque, pre-romantic ballet, commedia dell 'arte and the improvvisatore's art; I document his awareness of practical constraints: developments in theatre buildings, scenery, lighting, costume and performance styles of actors such as Cooke, Grimaldi, Kean, Kemble and O'Neill. I have uncovered evidence about 'patent' and 'minor' theatres in relation to censorship and performance. My conclusion is that Shelley had developed a sophisticated understanding of the theatre, and with increasing skill was seeking to integrate the best of past dramatic writing with successful contemporary forms of performance.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available