My new article, “Print Takes the Stage: The “Great Engine of Literature,” “Invidious Practices,” and British Romantic Theatre,” will be be available in Nineteenth-Century Contexts: An Interdisciplinary Journal online on February 15th and in print on February 21st. I will include a link to the online version under Publications once it is available.
Abstract: The Romantic period famously witnessed new theorizations of and a supposed retreat from the theatre itself in favor of the print publication of dramas. One might recall Charles Lamb’s famous assertion that Shakespeare’s plays are better read than performed and Lord Byron’s claims that his dramas were never intended for stage production. I contend that examining how authors navigated the changing media conditions of the 1790s, or, more accurately, how they presented this navigation, reveals a complicated new history of the relationship between print publication and stage production. Focusing on three key voices from the 1790s – William Godwin, William Wordsworth, and Joanna Baillie – I reconstruct a frustrated theatrical history in order to show how the Romantic turn away from the stage was a gradual, and painful, process.