Gilbert and Sullivan: Class and the Savoy Tradition, 1875-1896, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Gilbert and Sullivan

Class and the Savoy Tradition, 1875-1896, 1st Edition

By Regina B. Oost


180 pages

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Hardback: 9780754664123
pub: 2009-11-28
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315254326
pub: 2016-12-05
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Making use of archival resources in the United Kingdom and the United States, Regina B. Oost examines advertisements, promotional materials, and programs, as well as letters, diaries, and account books, to reconstruct the ways in which Richard D'Oyly Carte, W.S. Gilbert, and Arthur Sullivan attracted and shaped the expectations of theatergoers. Her findings place the Savoy operas in the context of other West End productions, considering similarities between Carte's promotional methods and those of managers Henry Irving, John Hollingshead, and Marie and Squire Bancroft. While all of these managers astutely understood patronage of a middle-class audience to be key to their success, the Savoy collaborators made strategic use of circumstances unique to their situation to distinguish Gilbert and Sullivan operas from contemporary theatrical fare. From Trial by Jury (1875) through The Grand Duke (1896), the Savoy operas celebrated the commodity culture beloved of the urban middle classes, validated a moral code that secured the social privileges audience members cherished, and ultimately provided a new model of British national identity that replaced the agrarian ideal espoused by earlier generations. Written in admirably accessible and jargon-free prose, Oost's book will appeal to scholars of theater history, literature, music, and popular culture, as well as general readers interested in Gilbert and Sullivan and the history of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company.


'…a scholarly, accessible, coherently argued book which will be an important addition to Gilbert and Sullivan literature and to the wider field of nineteenth-century theatre studies.' Richard Foulkes, University of Leicester, UK 'As a sustained exploration of these stage works in the context of nineteenth century consumerism it has no rivals and is to be recommended for the insights it provides into the relationship of art and commerce.' Music and Letters 'Gilbert and Sullivan furnishes tons of useful information and in its final chapters convincingly demonstrates how the tightly constructed oeuvre build a national identity based on modernity's consumer orientatio - doing so by offering lively comforts, entertaining and mutually reinforcing.' Victorian Studies

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: many contributors to a general result; West End theaters and Savoy audiences; The business of Gilbert and Sullivan; Shopping at the opera; Founding the family; 'Encore' means 'sing it again'; Tradition and the Savoyards; Select bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Regina B. Oost is Chair of the Department of English and Professor of English at Wesleyan College, Georgia, USA.

About the Series

The Nineteenth Century Series

The Nineteenth Century Series

The Nineteenth Century Series aims to develop and promote new approaches and fresh directions in scholarship and criticism on nineteenth-century literature and culture. The series encourages work which erodes the traditional boundary between Romantic and Victorian studies and welcomes interdisciplinary approaches to the literary, religious, scientific and visual cultures of the period. While British literature and culture are the core subject matter of monographs and collections in the series,  the editors encourage proposals which explore the wider, international contexts of nineteenth-century literature – transatlantic, European and global.  Print culture, including studies in the newspaper and periodical press, book history, life writing and gender studies are particular strengths of this established series as are high quality single author studies.  The series also embraces research in the field of digital humanities. The editors invite proposals from both younger and established scholars in all areas of nineteenth-century literary studies. 

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