Charles Macklin and the Theatres of London

BookCharles Macklin and the Theatres of London

Charles Macklin and the Theatres of London

Eighteenth-Century Worlds, 11


February 15th, 2022

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Charles Macklin (1699?–1797) was one of the most important figures in the eighteenth-century theatre. Born in Ireland, he began acting in London in around 1725 and gave his final performance in 1789 – no other actor can claim to have acted across seven decades of the century, from the reign of George I to the Regency Crisis of 1788. He is credited alongside Garrick with the development of the natural school of acting and gave a famous performance of Shylock that gave George II nightmares. As a dramatist, he wrote one of the great comic pieces of the mid-century (Love à la Mode, 1759), as well as the only play of the century to be twice refused a performance licence (The Man of the World, 1781). He opened an experimental coffeehouse in Covent Garden, he advocated energetically for actors’ rights and copyright reform for dramatists, and he successfully sued theatre rioters. In short, he had an astonishingly varied career.
With essays by leading experts on eighteenth-century culture, this volume provides a sustained critical examination of his career, illuminating many aspects of eighteenth-century theatrical culture and of the European Enlightenment, and explores the scholarly benefit – and thrill – of restaging Macklin’s work in the twenty-first century.

Author Information

Ian Newman is Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame. David O’Shaughnessy is Professor in the School of English and Creative Arts at NUI Galway.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
List of Illustrations7
List of Plates10
List of Tables11
List of Abbreviations12
List of Contributors13
Introduction: Macklin and the Performance of Enlightenment19
Representing Macklin39
1 Macklin’s Look41
2 Macklin’s Books73
3 Macklin in the Theatre, the Courts, and the News91
4 ‘Strong Case’: Macklin and the Law109
5 Macklin and the Novel129
6 Macklin as Theatre Manager149
7 Macklin and Song167
8 Ethnic Jokes and Polite Language: Soft Othering and Macklin's British Comedies191
9 Macklin and Censorship211
10 Macklin’s Coffeehouse: Public Sociability in Mid-Eighteenth-Century London233
11 Macklin’s Talking ‘Wrongheads’: The British Inquisition and the Public Sphere261
Restaging Macklin281
12 Restaging Macklin283
13 Love à la Mode in Performance: A Dialogue299