British Nautical Melodramas, 1820–1850: Volume II, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

British Nautical Melodramas, 1820–1850

Volume II, 1st Edition

By Arnold Schmidt


414 pages

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Hardback: 9781138751033
pub: 2019-07-01
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pub: 2019-06-25
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During the 1820s and 30s nautical melodramas "reigned supreme" on London stages, entertaining the mariners and maritime workers who comprised a large part of the audience for small theatres with the same sentimental moments and comic interludes of domestic melodrama mixed with patriotic images that communicated and reinforced imperial themes. However, generally the study of British theatre history moves from medieval and renaissance plays directly to the realism and naturalism of late Victorian and modern drama. Readers typically encounter a gap between Restoration and eighteenth-century plays like those of Oliver Goldsmith and Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and late-nineteenth plays by Henrik Ibsen and Oscar Wilde. Nineteenth-century drama, with the possible exception of plays by Byron, Shelley, and Wordsworth, remains all but invisible. Until recently, melodramatic plays written and performed during this "gap" received little scholarly attention, but their value as reflections of Britain’s promulgation of imperial ideology — and its role in constructing and maintaining class, gender, and racial identities — have given discussions of melodrama force and momentum.

The plays in included in these three volumes have never appeared in a critical anthology and most have not been republished since their original nineteenth-century editions. Each play is transcribed from the original documents and includes an author biography, a headnote about the play itself, full annotations with brief definitions of unfamiliar vocabulary, and explanatory notes. Comprehensive editorial apparatus details the nineteenth-century imperial, naval, political, and social history relevant to the plays’ nautical themes, as well as discussing nineteenth-century theatre history, melodrama generally, and the nautical melodrama in particular. Contemporary theatre practices — acting, audiences, staging, lighting, special effects — are also examined. An extensive bibliography of primary and secondary texts; a complete index; and contemporary images of the actors, theatres, stage sets, playbills, costumes, and locales have been compiled to aid study further. The appendices include maps of Britain, Europe, and the East and West Indies.

Table of Contents

Introduction to John Thomas Haines

Haines. Breakers Ahead

Haines. My Poll and My Partner Joe

Haines. The Ocean of Life, or Every Inch a Sailor

Haines. Rattlin the Reefer, or, the Tiger of the Sea

Haines. The Wizard of the Wave, or, the Ship of the Avenger

Introduction to Douglas William Jerrold

Jerrold. Descart, the French Buccaneer

Jerrold. The Mutiny at the Nore

Jerrold. Black Eye'd Susan

About the Author

Arnold Schmidt is Professor of English at California State University, Stanislaus, USA

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
DRAMA / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
LITERARY COLLECTIONS / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 19th Century