Too foul and dishonoring to be overlooked : newspaper responses to controversial English stars in the Northeastern United States, 1820-1870


Too foul and dishonoring to be overlooked : newspaper responses to controversial English stars in the Northeastern United States, 1820-1870

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dc.contributor.advisor Canning, Charlotte, 1964-
dc.creator Smith, Tamara Leanne 2010-09-30T19:51:49Z 2010-09-30T19:51:56Z 2010-09-30T19:51:49Z 2010-09-30T19:51:56Z 2010-05 2010-09-30 May 2010
dc.description.abstract In the nineteenth century, theatre and newspapers were the dominant expressions of popular culture in the northeastern United States, and together formed a crucial discursive node in the ongoing negotiation of American national identity. Focusing on the five decades between 1820 and 1870, during which touring stars from Great Britain enjoyed their most lucrative years of popularity on United States stages, this dissertation examines three instances in which English performers entered into this nationalizing forum and became flashpoints for journalists seeking to define the nature and bounds of American citizenship and culture. In 1821, Edmund Kean’s refusal to perform in Boston caused a scandal that revealed a widespread fixation among social elites with delineating the ethnic and economic limits of citizenship in a republican nation. In 1849, an ongoing rivalry between the English tragedian William Charles Macready and his American competitor Edwin Forrest culminated in the deadly Astor Place riot. By configuring the actors as champions in a struggle between bourgeois authority and working-class populism, the New York press inserted these local events into international patterns of economic conflict and revolutionary violence. Nearly twenty years later, the arrival of the Lydia Thompson Burlesque Troupe in 1868 drew rhetoric that reflected the popular press’ growing preoccupation with gender, particularly the question of woman suffrage and the preservation of the United States’ international reputation as a powerfully masculine nation in the wake of the Civil War. Three distinct cultural currents pervade each of these case studies: the new nation’s anxieties about its former colonizer’s cultural influence, competing political and cultural ideologies within the United States, and the changing perspectives and agendas of the ascendant popular press. Exploring the points where these forces intersect, this dissertation aims to contribute to an understanding of how popular culture helped shape an emerging sense of American national identity. Ultimately, this dissertation argues that in the mid-nineteenth century northeastern United States, popular theatre, newspapers, and audiences all contributed to a single media formation in which controversial English performers became a rhetorical antipode against which “American” identity could be defined.
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso eng
dc.subject Actors
dc.subject Acting
dc.subject Alabama claims
dc.subject Anglophobia
dc.subject Astor Place Riot
dc.subject Audience
dc.subject Audiences
dc.subject Bowery Boys
dc.subject Burlesque
dc.subject Citizenship
dc.subject Class
dc.subject Controversy
dc.subject Democratic Party
dc.subject Kean, Edmund
dc.subject Forrest, Edwin
dc.subject England
dc.subject Femininity
dc.subject Feminism
dc.subject Gender
dc.subject Great Britain
dc.subject Rynders, Isaiah
dc.subject Jewish American identity
dc.subject Jews
dc.subject United States
dc.subject Identity
dc.subject Journalism
dc.subject Thompson, Lydia
dc.subject Masculinity
dc.subject Media
dc.subject Media formations
dc.subject Melodrama
dc.subject Walsh, Mike
dc.subject Noah, Mordecai
dc.subject National Advocate
dc.subject National identity
dc.subject Nationalism
dc.subject New York
dc.subject New York Herald
dc.subject New York Tribune
dc.subject Newspapers
dc.subject Nineteenth century
dc.subject Northeastern United States
dc.subject Logan, Olive
dc.subject Performance
dc.subject Popular culture
dc.subject Popular press
dc.subject Mass print media
dc.subject Republican Party
dc.subject Revolution, 1848-1849
dc.subject Rhetoric
dc.subject Scandal
dc.subject Shakespeare
dc.subject Spirit of the Times
dc.subject Suffrage
dc.subject Nativism
dc.subject Theatre
dc.subject Touring stars
dc.subject Whig Party
dc.subject Macready, William Charles
dc.subject Richard III (play)
dc.subject Merchant of Venice
dc.subject Shylock
dc.title Too foul and dishonoring to be overlooked : newspaper responses to controversial English stars in the Northeastern United States, 1820-1870 2010-09-30T19:51:56Z
dc.contributor.committeeMember Jones, Joni L.
dc.contributor.committeeMember Wolf, Stacy
dc.contributor.committeeMember Thompson, Shirley E.
dc.contributor.committeeMember Forgie, George
dc.type.genre thesis
dc.type.material text Theatre and Dance Theatre University of Texas at Austin Doctoral Doctor of Philosophy

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