The Gothic drama came at a critical moment in the history of the theater, of British culture, and of European politics in the shadow of France’s revolution and the fall of Napoleon. It offered playwrights a medium to express the prevailing ideological tensions of romanticism and revolution, and also responded to a growing and changing theater audience.
William Dean Howells has long been recognized as the chief spokesman for post-1880s American Realism. Most of his writing appeared in popular magazines, however, and has been lost to us. This collection brings together for the first time his most significant essays about American drama written between 1875 and 1919 and a full bibliography of his writings on drama and theatre.
“I here and there o’heard a Coxcomb cry, Ah, rot—’tis a Woman’s Comedy.” Thus Aphra Behn ushers in a new era for women in the British Theatre (Sir Patient Fancy, 1678). In the hundred years that were to follow—and exactly those years that Curtain Calls examines—women truly took the theater world by storm.
Today, more than a century after its first performance, Richard Wagner’s The Ring of Nibelung endures as one of the most significant artistic creations in the history of opera. This monumental work not only altered previously accepted concepts of music and drama but also inspired creative and intellectual efforts far beyond the field of opera. Previous studies of the Ring have appealed only to those already acquainted in some way with the Wagnerian art.