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The Theatre of Shelley

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Jacqueline Mulhallen

Introduction

Texte intégral

1There has never been a full-length, in-depth study of Shelley’s dramatic work as a whole, nor one which places it fully in the context of the theatre of the late Georgian, or Romantic, period, 1780-1830. It has long been considered that Shelley rarely attended the theatre, disliked it when he did and was therefore unable to write successfully for the stage. This, however, is not a description of Shelley’s views and abilities and is based on assumptions about both Shelley and the Georgian theatre which are gradually being shown to be misunderstandings. Shelley not only had a knowledge of practical theatrical techniques and dramatic criticism current in his lifetime but evolved a theory of drama consistent with this knowledge and used them as a framework for writing his own dramatic works.

  • 1 Allardyce Nicoll, A History of English Drama: 1600-1900, IV: Early Nineteenth-Century Drama 1800-1 (...)

2The first difficulty encountered in writing about Shelley’s drama is the argument that the Romantic poets disdained the stage as being too popular for their intellectual and artistic abilities and instead wrote ’closet drama’. Among those holding this view are Allardyce Nicoll and Michael Booth who praise playwrights such as James Planché and Edward Fitzball whose work accorded with popular culture; Marilyn Gaull, who thinks that ’closet drama helped playwrights to overcome the restrictions of the theater’; and Joseph W. Donohue who believes the poets refused ’to accommodate the relationship between private reality and […] human action’.1 While there is some truth in these views, they underestimate the extent to which theatre interested the Romantic poets, and indeed the majority of their contemporaries.

  • 2 Qtd in Philip Cox, Reading Adaptations, Novels and Verse Narratives on the Stage, 1790-1840 (Manch (...)
  • 3 Philip Cox, Reading Adaptations, pp. 12-13.

3’Closet drama’ is often taken to be drama written for reading but not for performance, but as Jeffrey N. Cox remarks, it ’does not define a specific form’.2 Yet he himself describes The Cenci as ’published as closet drama’, thereby suggesting that publication defines the genre. On the other hand, Philip Cox suggests that author’s intention is what differentiates it, since he states that Prometheus Unbound ’can clearly be seen to reject the possibility of stage performance’ unlike The Cenci which was ’written with intention of theatrical production’.3 The present definitions of closet drama seem to have been chosen with hindsight. That given by Donohue is:

  • 4 Joseph W. Donohue, Jr., Dramatic Character in the English Romantic Age (Princeton; Princeton Unive (...)

stage drama manqué, drama aspiring to a state of performance either actual or imagined, but not produced, or producible, on the contemporary stage because of some special circumstance (for example: its language is insufficiently intelligible or unsuited to the spoken voice, the effects it calls for cannot be realized, the kind of stage it requires no longer exists, its subject matter is indecorous, the author fears it will be damned, or praised, and so on).4

  • 5 Donohue, Dramatic Character, p. 160.
  • 6 Timothy Webb, ’The Romantic Poet and the Stage’ in The Romantic Theatre: An International Symposiu (...)

4This definition happens to cover the drama of the Romantic poets: George Gordon Noel, Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, Sir Walter Scott, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Robert Southey and William Wordsworth, all of whom wrote plays. Byron and Scott are examples of those who feared being ’damned’, while ’indecorous’ applied to Shelley whose play, The Cenci, was turned down for its subject-matter. Donohue adds that ’certain plays were written frankly for the stage but not produced (at least, not in their authors’ lifetimes)’.5 But, as Timothy Webb discusses in his pioneering 1985 essay, ’The Romantic Poet and the Stage’, the Romantic poets did not universally turn their backs on the stage of their day and each had different experiences in writing for it. Byron’s Marino Faliero (1821) was performed against his wishes but Keats’s Otho the Great was accepted, but shelved by Drury Lane, then rejected by Covent Garden. Coleridge’s Osorio was also initially rejected but, after much reworking, it was staged as Remorse (1813). Wordsworth was ’angered and upset’ when The Borderers was rejected by Covent Garden in 1797, but later claimed to have ’no thought of the Stage when he initially wrote the play’.6 Clearly, even in an author’s lifetime, the attitude of author or theatre to the play may change.

  • 7 BLJV, p. 194; BLJVIII, pp. 59, 60, 68.
  • 8 David V. Erdman, ’Byron’s Stage Fright: The History of his Ambition and Fear of Writing for the St (...)
  • 9 BLJVIII, pp. 56, 78.
  • 10 Philip Cox, Reading Adaptations, p. 12.
  • 11 Robertson Davies, ’Playwrights and Plays’ in The Revels History of Drama in English, 1750-1880 ed. (...)
  • 12 Information from Dr. Kai Merten, University of Giessen, private communication, 23 August 2006.
  • 13 Catherine Burroughs, Joanna Baillie and the Theater Theory of British Romantic Women Writers (Phil (...)
  • 14 Joanna Baillie’s Plays on the Passions (1798 edition) ed. by Peter Duthie (Peterborough: Broadview (...)
  • 15 Thomas Campbell, Life of Mrs. Siddons, 2 vols (London: Effingham Wilson, 1834), p. 254; Henry Hart (...)

5The attitude of Byron and Scott appears ambivalent. Byron repeatedly stated that he did not want his plays performed. Manfred was ’the very Antipodes of the stage’, Marino Faliero, ’unfit for the stage’, ’written solely for the reader’, ’not for acting’.7 David Erdman, however, believed he desired success on stage but that the possibility of failure made him deeply apprehensive.8 On the other hand, what he imagined to be the simplicity of the Greek theatre appealed to Byron, who disliked both the scenic effects which Shelley admired and the tendency of contemporary theatre to make love the main interest.9 His criticisms imply a genuine desire to reform the British theatre, meanwhile allowing his vision to take the form of a ’mental theatre’ in the way Jeffrey N. Cox suggests as a blueprint for the theatre of the future.10 Scott, who apparently inspired Byron’s fear,11 may have been put off writing for the stage by his first attempt, a play, The House of Aspen, which went into production but was terminated mid-rehearsal.12 He did not, however, object to his novels being ’terryfied’, i.e., adapted for the stage by the actor, Daniel Terry, and he encouraged the playwrights, Joanna Baillie and Charles Maturin, author of Bertram. His Essay on Drama praised the theatre.Catherine Burroughs suggests that closet drama was a choice made by women when writing or performing drama by women was discouraged; for her, just as closets might vary in size and use, ’closet drama’ can be used to include any kind of sketch or dialogue read or performed privately by and for women.13 She does not distinguish between writing for and reading aloud in a private space, although as the second may be part of a process of eventual public performance the definition is unclear. The writers she gives as examples of closet playwrights, Baillie and Elizabeth Craven, wrote drama for performance in a public or semipublic situation. Craven’s private theatre therefore could be classed in the tradition of aristocratic private theatres and she herself with such gifted amateur aristocratic performers as Richard, Earl of Barrymore. Baillie may have feared that ’it may perhaps be supposed, from my publishing these plays, that I have written for the closet rather than the stage’,14 but she made it clear she would have preferred them performed. Indeed, she wrote De Monfort for Sarah Siddons and her brother, John Philip Kemble, which they performed at Covent Garden; thus she belongs with writers such as Henry Hart Milman, who hoped his Fazio would be staged, though he ’printed it in case it was not a success’.15

  • 16 Lukas Erne, Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003; Thomas (...)

6The weakness of these definitions may be seen when one considers that a play intended for performance on the public stage may also be read or performed privately and that, until they are performed, all plays are ’closet plays’. There is a collaborative process in producing a play; many playwrights have found, like Coleridge, that the cuts and adaptations suggested by the theatres can help the success of the play. Since the reaction of an audience can be assessed by performing or reading plays in a small private circle, such as referred to by Burroughs, this should be borne in mind, given the Shelleys’ habit of reading plays aloud and their projected amateur drama in Pisa in 1822. On the other hand, if a play is published, and most are not, the writer may alter it to a more literary style, as Ben Jonson and, probably, Shakespeare, did, or re-insert the text excised by the censor, as Thomas Holcroft did with Love’s Frailties.16 The intention of the author, therefore, cannot be the sole criterion of a closet play. If authors claim that a play was never intended for the stage, they need not take responsibility for its failure in performance, but if it is a success they can take the credit.

7A play may survive until, or be revived in, another era. An ’unperformable’ drama, such as Lorca’s El Pubblicò or Strindberg’s A Dream Play, may well become performable in another period because the complexity of the text becomes better understood, because of changes in public opinion towards a taboo subject or technical changes in the theatre, but there must be inherent qualities which make it stageable. Jeffrey N. Cox’s description of the closet play as ’the theatre of the future’ may not always be appropriate since many plays were, and are, written which are merely unstageworthy, and of course some were written to be deliberately so. However, it may be applicable in cases such as Byron’s and, indeed, Shelley’s.

8Fashions in style may also change; some which were successful in their time are later thought best forgotten and others considered undeservedly neglected, but falling out of favour cannot define a closet play. Furthermore, later assumptions about poor taste or overwriting may be found to be mistaken. When, in 2004, the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds began rehearsed readings of late Georgian plays which had not been performed for many years, they were found to be more effective than they appeared to be on the page, even though only semi-staged. Stage directions and effects which appeared clichéd to the reader proved very moving when performed.

  • 17 A.W. Schlegel, Lectures in Dramatic Art and Literature, trans. by John Black, 2nd edn, rev. by Rev (...)
  • 18 330; Thomas Campbell, Life of Mrs. Siddons, 2 vols (London: Effingham Wilson, 1834), p. 254.
  • 19 Greg Kucich, ’Revising Women in British Romantic Theatre’ in Women in British Romantic Theatre: Dr (...)
  • 20 John Bernard, Retrospections of the Stage, 2 vols (London: Henry Colburn, 1827), I, p. 137.
  • 21 Gisborne & Williams, p. 124.

9The relationship between ’closet’ drama and the stage among theatre critics of the late Georgian period was fluid and complex. Readers of plays were also theatre-goers and amateur performers, while dramas were sometimes first published in the hope of attracting a theatre manager. A.W. Schlegel believed that ’the very form of dramatic poetry’ implied ’the theatre as its necessary complement’ but conceded that ’there are dramatic works which were not originally designed for the stage […] which nevertheless afford great pleasure in the perusal’.17 This might apply to Baillie’s De Monfort, which two biographers of Siddons imply was more suitable for the closet since it was ’a beautiful poem’ but ’on the stage […] no spectator wished it a longer life’ and required ’more stirring incidents to justify the passion of her characters’.18 The performability of a new play was considered important by reviewers, at least when discussing plays by women.19 To the actor, John Bernard, a closet play was merely a bad one whose author lacked ’the power of invention, and the capability of embodying what he invents’.20 Suggesting that plays would work in the closet, if not on stage gave theatre managements a useful formula for softening the blow when returning scripts. John Fawcett, manager at Covent Garden in 1822, rejected The Promise, a play by Shelley’s friend, Edward Williams, saying that it had ’poetical beauties but not dramatic’.21 But it should be borne in mind that many plays, regardless of their dramatic skill, could not be performed because the Examiner of Plays would not grant them a licence, or the theatre feared that one would not be granted, as was the case with The Cenci.

  • 22 Remarks by Elizabeth Inchbald, The British Theatre, 25 vols (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees and Orme (...)

10As a professional actress and playwright, Elizabeth Inchbald, when editing The British Theatre, carefully considered the question of which plays succeeded better on stage and which in the closet. In her preface to The Dramatist, she said that ’plays of former times were written to be read’ but that nowadays they are both read and performed. Despite Antony & Cleopatra and As You Like It having been written for the stage, she classes them among those she finds more successful in the closet. Although Hannah Cowley and John O’Keeffe were both professional playwrights writing for the stage, Inchbald considers Cowley’s A Bold Stroke for a Husband equally successful in both areas, but believes ’a reader must be acquainted with O’Keeffe on the stage to admire him in the closet’. She suggests that Colley Cibber’s A Careless Husband, although written for the stage and frequently performed, does not satisfy ’the present demand for perpetual incident’ on stage, and that As You Like It will only succeed if ’some actress of very superior skill performs the part of Rosalind’, like ’Mrs. Jordan’. Her position is clear when she describes ’that fine play’, De Monfort, as ’both dull and highly improbable in the representation… its very charm in the reading militates against its power in the acting’ despite the ’most appropriate performances’ of Siddons and Kemble.22 A ’closet’ play is one which cannot convince in performance.

  • 23 James Henry Leigh Hunt, The Descent of Liberty (Philadelphia: for H. Hall, 1816), p. 44.

11James Henry Leigh Hunt originally intended his masque, The Descent of Liberty, for the stage, but ’as he proceeded however he found himself making so many demands on the machinist […] that he gave up his wish and set himself with no diminution of self-indulgence, to make a stage of his own in the reader’s fancy’.23 Hunt, as a theatre critic, knew the theatre sufficiently to be aware that his stage directions required the machinists to follow one set of scenic effects with another so soon that they would have had difficulty in finishing one in time to perform the next, while the repetition of so many groups might have wearied rather than delighted the audience. The idea of a masque being written especially to be read when in its seventeenth-century heyday it was appreciated for scenic effects rather than literary content, no doubt appealed to his sense of humour. The definitions of Inchbald and Hunt show their relationship to their theatre; they consider the demands upon actors and machinists and the preferences of audiences, the performability rather than the author’s intention. However, their definitions applied to their own day; audience tastes are not static and technical advances might render Hunt’s masque performable.

  • 24 Wolfe, II, p. 198.

12The meaning of ’closet drama’ for Shelley’s contemporaries, therefore, was a play unsuitable for performance on stage which might have literary merit. Although not mentioned by modern critics, this meaning has coloured the term ever since. The literary merit of Shelley’s drama is not in question, but its performability has been, although Shelley is said to have thought it ’affectation’ not to write a play for the stage and nowhere stated it his intention to write ’closet drama’.24 If this is defined as his contemporaries suggest, a play unsuccessful on stage, then an exploration of Shelley’s drama should show how far it would achieve success in the theatre, whether Georgian or later. My analysis is therefore based on how successful Shelley’s plays have been or would have been in performance, taking into account criteria which are more appropriate to performance than to reading: dramatic qualities such as dialogue which lends itself to delivery, dramatic incident, characterisation, suspense, mystery and opportunities for dance or song.

  • 25 Cox, Seven Gothic Dramas, p. 58; Donohue, Theatre in the Age of Kean, p. 172.
  • 26 Booth, English Melodrama, p. 47; Michael R. Booth, Prefaces to English Nineteenth-Century Theatre (...)

13Shelley long enjoyed the reputation of being the only major Romantic poet to write a performable play, The Cenci (1819), ’the best play of its period’, but this judgement was usually counterbalanced with the reservation that its success was due to what Donohue describes as ’intuition’ rather than to dramatic skill.25 The opinions of, among others, Booth, Robertson Davies and Gaull, have perpetuated the view that Shelley’s poetic genius and intellectuality prevented him from writing successfully for the stage in an era of melodrama, hippodrama and pantomime.26 Yet it was Shelley’s very intellectual capability and open mind which allowed him to acquire the skills of theatre writing without serving the long apprenticeship of an Elizabeth Inchbald or a Thomas Holcroft. He appreciated the skills of performers, whether acrobats, dancers, musicians or actors, and understood that their talents need not be limited to these genres, but could be combined to serve a poetic drama.

  • 27 St John Ervine, ’Shelley as Dramatist’ in Essays by Divers Hands, xv, ed. by Hugh Walpole (London: (...)
  • 28 Stuart Curran, Shelley’s Cenci: Scorpions Ringed with Fire (Princeton: Princeton University Press, (...)
  • 29 William Jewett, Fatal Autonomy: Romantic Drama and the Rhetoric of Agency (Ithaca: Cornell Univers (...)
  • 30 Anne McWhir, ’The Light and the Knife: Ab/Using Language in The Cenci’ KSJ, 38 (1989), 145-161; Ju (...)
  • 31 BSMXII, p. xlvi; Curran, ’Shelleyan Drama’ in The Romantic Theatre, pp. 68-69.
  • 32 Jewett, Fatal Autonomy; Kenneth R. Johnston and Joseph Nicholes, ’Transitory Actions: Men Betrayed (...)
  • 33 Jeffrey N. Cox, ’The Dramatist’ in The Cambridge Companion to Shelley, ed. byTimothy Morton (Cambr (...)

14Shelley’s dramatic ability was noted as long ago as 1936 by a leading theatre critic, St John Ervine.27 The Cenci’s first professional performance in England in 1922, with no less an actress than Sybil Thorndike playing Beatrice, was enormously successful. Following this, it has been performed frequently but not by a major British theatre company since 1959.28 Despite Curran’s 1970 full-length study of The Cenci, subsequent studies of Shelley’s drama have been directed away from the theatre and it has been classed as ’closet drama’ or ’mental theatre’.29 It has been discussed from the point of view not of dramatic technique but psychology, morality or imagery.30 While these studies all, of course, illuminate the play, they do not address the questions of the effectiveness of Shelley’s dramatic technique or how he envisaged its staging. Still less has this been done in the case of his other dramas. Although Curran and Nora Crook have discussed aspects of staging,31 other studies of Charles the First (1822) have tended to ignore its theatrical qualities.32 Hellas (1821), Prometheus Unbound (1819) and Swellfoot the Tyrant (1820) have not been discussed, even hypothetically, as stageable dramas until Jeffrey N. Cox’s recent essay.33 This is most welcome as it claims Shelley as dramatist, but, necessarily, because of its brevity, does not allow him to amplify the pertinent points that it makes. My study provides the details of Shelley’s dramatic techniques and their relationship to the writers, performers, managers, scene painters, mechanists and audience of late Georgian England and, to a lesser extent, Italy. It can be seen that the drama Shelley saw influenced his own and that he wrote in such a manner as to make his work stageable in the theatre of his own time. This includes Prometheus Unbound and Hellas, which are modelled on plays successfully staged, even if in fifth-century Greece, and are influenced by contemporary theatrical practice. Shelley may not have expected them to succeed in a commercial London theatre and made no attempt to submit them. While I do not suggest that he did not wish them to be read, I consider them performable and shaped by experience of theatrical performance.

15As there is no performance history of Shelley’s drama from his own period, and little from other periods for any but The Cenci, there are difficulties in suggesting how Shelley himself envisaged his drama being performed. However, by imaginatively relating them to the stage technique of late Georgian theatre and taking note of his stage directions or descriptions within the text, some of his intentions hitherto ignored or misunderstood become clear. I have discovered that the stage effects which he specifies were not only achievable with late Georgian theatre technology, but also frequently used, which suggests that he was aware of the required results. His having written The Cenci with particular actors in mind led me to consider what other actors he might have contemplated for other dramas. Shelley’s excellent powers of memory and observation would have enabled him to bear in mind performances he had seen when creating his own drama. I have been able to trace some of these influences.

16Shelley was neither employed in the theatre like the actor-playwrights, Inchbald and Holcroft, nor involved in other ways, like his friends, Hunt, as theatre critic, or Byron, as member of the Drury Lane Committee, but that does not preclude a dramatic sense or an ability to understand stagecraft. This study reveals that Shelley attended the theatre more frequently than was hitherto supposed and shows that the theatrical techniques he learnt, and used, would be redundant in drama only intended to be read. Shelley was able not only to structure a play to reveal its meaning through dialogue and action rather than description, but also to understand the practical exigencies of scenery, lighting, actors’ abilities and audience response. It is necessary to put his work in the context of late Georgian theatre – very different in style and stage mechanics from that of the Victorian, twentieth century and present-day – to show that, far from despising the theatre audience, Shelley saw the possibilities for communicating his ideas by using it to reach a wider public. The frequent dismissal of him as a ’closet dramatist’, with its suggestion of ignorance of theatre, therefore becomes questionable.

  • 34 Cox, Seven Gothic Dramas, pp. 2-4.
  • 35 The Broadview Anthology of Romantic Drama, ed by Jeffrey N. Cox and Michael Gamer (Toronto: Broadv (...)
  • 36 Gaull, English Romanticism, p. 88; Jane Stabler, Burke to Byron, Barbauld to Baillie 1790-1830 (Ba (...)
  • 37 Cox, Seven Gothic Dramas; Five Romantic Plays 1768-1821, ed. by Paul Baines and Edward Burns (Oxfo (...)
  • 38 Eighteenth Century Women Dramatists, ed. by Melinda C. Finberg (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2 (...)
  • 39 Julia Swindells, Glorious Causes, the Grand Theatre of Political Change, 1789 to 1833 (Oxford: Oxf (...)
  • 40 Marc Baer, Theatre and Disorder in Late Georgian London (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992).
  • 41 Steven E. Jones, Shelley’s Satire, Violence Exhortation and Authority (Illinois: De Kalb Northern (...)

17The second difficulty in discussing the work of the Romantic poets for the theatre is, as Jeffrey N. Cox points out, the entrenched prejudice against the plays of this period which has resulted in little study having been done.34Though he himself has done much to correct this view in his introduction to The Broadview Anthology of Romantic Drama and in ’Re-viewing Romantic Drama’,35 it is still influential in current studies of Romanticism.36 In the last fifteen years, however, valuable selections of drama and studies of playwrights and the theatre of Shelley’s period have been published. Through the editions of Paul Baines, Barry Sutcliffe and Cox himself, there has been a realisation that late Georgian theatre has been judged by unsuitable criteria.37 Melinda Finberg’s edition and the studies by Ellen Donkin and Tracey C. Davis, for example, have made students aware of women dramatists who were successful in the theatre of their day but subsequently largely ignored.38 Julia Swindells has drawn attention to the links between political movements and plays such as Inkle and Yarico and The Rent Day.39 Marc Baer has confirmed the link between political activism and theatre in Georgian England and developed our understanding of the backgrounds of the audience by his study of the 1809 Old Price protests against raised seat prices at Covent Garden.40 The connections between Shelley, the radical press and Spencean meetings have been explored by Steven E. Jones and Iain McCalman and those of the radicals with the theatre by David Worrall.41

  • 42 James Boaden, The Life of Mrs. Jordan (London: Edward Bull, 1831); Boaden, Memoirs of Mrs. Siddons(...)
  • 43 The Plays of Elizabeth Inchbald, ed. by Paula Backscheider (New York: Garland, 1980); British Wome (...)
  • 44 Richard Southern, The Georgian Playhouse (London: Pleiades, 1948); Richard Southern, Changeable Sc (...)
  • 45 Sybil Rosenfeld, Georgian Scene Painters and Scene Painting (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (...)
  • 46 Donohue, Theatre in the Age of Kean; The London Theatre World, 1660-1800 ed. By Robert D. Hume (Ca (...)
  • 47 George Taylor, The French Revolution and the London Stage, 1789-1805 (Cambridge: Cambridge Univers (...)
  • 48 Cox and Gamer, Broadview Anthology; Cox, ’Romantic Drama’; Jacky Bratton,New Readings in Theatre H (...)
  • 49 Jacky Bratton and Gilli Bush-Bailey, ’The Management of Laughter: Jane Scott’s Camilla The Amazon (...)
  • 50 Paul Ranger, ’Terror and Pity Reign in Every Breast’: Gothic Drama in the Patent Theatres, 1750-18 (...)

18These studies have given some of the background required for discussion of the drama. For an understanding of the context in which Shelley wrote, however, I found no substitute for studying the plays themselves and the biographies and memoirs of those involved in the theatre, such as James Boaden, John Bernard, Michael Kelly and Thomas Dibdin.42 Although Inchbald’s plays have been collected by Paula Backscheider and the British Women Playwrights website has made others available, much of the foremost drama of the period remains out of print and inaccessible to a modern audience or reader.43 Some can only be read in the collection preserved by John Larpent, Examiner of Plays (1741-1824), in the Huntington Library, also available on microfilm in the British Library. Moreover, literary historians writing about late Georgian theatre have rarely written with an awareness of the exciting developments in theatre history of the previous 50 years, such as the work on theatre architecture by Richard Southern and Richard Leacroft,44 on scene painting and amateur theatre by Sybil Rosenfeld and on costume by Diana de Marly, which give a more complete picture of the technology and knowledge which informed the Georgian theatre.45 Helpful work on the management and production of these theatres has been done by Donohue and others.46 Since I commenced this study in 2000, Jane Moody has given due credit to the work of the minor theatres and extended the work of Booth and George Taylor to enlarge current understanding of their architecture, audience and of ’illegitimate’ drama such as burletta.47 Jeffrey N. Cox, Michael Gamer and Jacky Bratton have given valuable general overviews.48 Bratton, with Gilli Bush-Bailey,49 and Paul Ranger have conducted illuminating experiments with their students.50 With the exception of Cox and Gamer, however, writers eager to emphasise the vigour and popularity of the burletta and melodrama tend not to see the drama as a whole or the connection between the genres and the ’major’ and ’minor’ theatres.

19Just as a playwright with no interest in the theatre is not considered an effective dramatist, so a writer on drama should not conduct research solely in the library. In order to understand the practical aspects of the type of theatre Shelley knew, including the machinery and techniques available, I took backstage tours of the recently restored Georgian Theatre, Richmond, North Yorkshire (1788), the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk (1819) and the Teatro della Pergola, Florence (1656). At La Pergola I was able to see le guide, the grooves in the stage for moving the scenery and observe the amount of backstage space available. I was involved from its beginning in April 2004 until December 2006 with the project of ’Restoring the Repertoire’ at the Theatre Royal, Bury St. Edmunds, in which rehearsed readings with professional actors of plays by Shelley’s contemporaries were given. As I was providing specific background research on the original actors, I was able to enlarge my knowledge of those whom Shelley might have seen, and, by attending rehearsals, I gained a better understanding of how the techniques differ from accepted styles of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

  • 51 Raymond Williams, Drama in Performance (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972), p. 4.

20The theatre of Shelley’s lifetime was an art form of high quality encompassing a great variety of work, for which writers he admired, such as William Godwin, Matthew Gregory (’Monk’) Lewis, Holcroft and Coleridge had written. It was also a period of change and developing technical skills, which, given Shelley’s interest in progress, could hardly have failed to attract him. I have linked these changes to his recorded theatre-going at different periods to show that he was able to observe them and to provide a context in which his drama can be assessed. Because theatre is a threedimensional art involving more than a literary text and because Shelley himself, who referred to drama as a ’prismatic and many-sided mirror’, was aware of the importance of these other components, I describe the acting styles, music, dancing, scenery, lighting, the stage and the auditorium. Since the stage illusion of 1819 cannot be replicated with the same effect in 2010, it is important to understand what Shelley himself expected to see in order to identify what stage effects he envisaged in his own drama. Nevertheless, there are certain techniques of playwriting which do not change with the times, and my own background as a professional actress, writer and co-manager of a touring theatre company allows me to bring an understanding to a play-text not readily available without such experience. Raymond Williams’s Drama and Performance makes the primary point that ’play and performance’ are all too often treated ’in separate compartments’ rather than ’as the unity which they are intended to become’.51

  • 52 Wolfe, II, p. 330; Thomas Medwin, The Life of Percy Bysshe Shelley, 2 vols (London: Thomas Cautley (...)
  • 53 Cox, ’The Dramatist’, p. 83n; Curran, Cenci, p. 158.
  • 54 Kenneth N. Cameron, Shelley: The Golden Years (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1974), pp. (...)

21The third barrier to assessing the quality of Shelley’s drama is the generally accepted assertion by his friend, Thomas Love Peacock and his cousin, Thomas Medwin, that he was not a frequent theatre-goer and, indeed, disliked it. This has led to the persistent belief that he was unable to learn stagecraft from first-hand experience.52 The critics who have been least subject to this belief and who have most emphasised Shelley’s talent as a dramatist, Kenneth N. Cameron, Curran and Jeffrey N. Cox, have not established what performances at the theatre Shelley actually saw and they differ among themselves on this point. Despite Cox’s belief that Curran’s reference to entries in Mary Shelley’s journals suffices, Curran himself was not sure that Shelley saw the performances in question, stating that he ’educated himself in the study’.53 Cameron assumes that Shelley saw all the performances while Donohue believes that the entries cannot be relied upon.54

  • 55 Cox ’The Dramatist’, p. 71; Webb, ’The Romantic Poet and the Stage’ in The Romantic Theatre, p. 25

22I have clarified the usefulness of Mary Shelley’s journals by crosschecking them with those of her stepsister, Claire Clairmont, and the memoirs of Shelley’s friends, Peacock, Edward John Trelawny and Edward Williams. For performances from an earlier period, I have included the evidence supplied by his cousins, Harriet Grove and Medwin. Despite the efforts of Shelley’s friend, Thomas Jefferson Hogg, to insist on the contrary, his Life of Shelley provides illuminating anecdotes which show that Shelley himself had dramatic and humorous talents, while the drama Shelley read aloud to his own circle is an important indicator of his knowledge and taste. A study of newspapers and playbills in English and Italian libraries has enabled me to show that his experience of contemporary performance was more extensive than previously supposed. Appendix I gives a list of plays seen by Shelley while in England and Italy – the first time, to the best of my knowledge, such a list has been made. Shelley’s theory of drama can be inferred from A Defence of Poetry and the prefaces to the dramas themselves, where they exist, supplemented by his letters, and anecdotes from the memoirs of friends, although these have to be sifted and compared for reliability. Schlegel has been referred to by Webb, Cox and others, but I believe that this study makes the fullest acknowledgement of the extent of the debt to Schlegel’s work in Shelley’s theory of drama as set out in A Defence of Poetry.55

  • 56 Curran, Cenci, p. 253; Richard Allen Cave, ’Romantic Drama in Performance’ in The Romantic Theatre(...)
  • 57 Donohue, Dramatic Character, pp. 171-177.
  • 58 Cox and Gamer, Broadview Anthology, p. xxiv.
  • 59 R. Brimley Johnson, Shelley-Leigh Hunt: The Story of a Friendship (London: Ingpen and Grant, 1928) (...)
  • 60 Nicoll, pp. 196-197; Booth, English Melodrama, p. 47, for Booth’s comments on Shelley and the Roma (...)

23It might have appeared, after Curran’s full-length study of The Cenci, that there was nothing to add about the relation of this play to the theatre. However, because of its twentieth-century performance success, both Curran and Richard Cave suggest that The Cenci is more suitable for the modern stage. This opinion allows the persistence of the idea that Shelley was out of step with plays successful on the stage of their time.56 The work on the late Georgian theatre which I have carried out enabled me to consider the question of how in tune Shelley was with the technical and artistic requirements of the Covent Garden Theatre to which he sent the play. My study of Milman’s Fazio, generally agreed to have had an influence on The Cenci,57 and my discovery of the manuscript of The Italian Wife, the version of Fazio adapted by Thomas Dibdin and performed at the Surrey Theatre, not only enabled me to extend Cox’s suggestion that the offerings of both major and minor theatres were often alike in character but also shows Shelley’s craftsmanship to be superior to Milman’s.58 Shelley was sufficiently competent both to avoid Milman’s defects and to suggest effects obtainable with late Georgian theatre techniques. It is thus possible to make an informed conjecture on the impact which The Cenci would have made on the 1819 audience for which it was intended. I have traced the discussion of the performability of The Cenci from Hunt’s original review 59 through the unfavourable comments of Nicoll and Davies to Cave’s more sympathetic assessment taking into account its varied performance history,60 in order to assess exactly why views on the play’s performability differ so widely and to provide a possible explanation.

  • 61 M.R. Mitford, ’Original Preface’ to Charles the First: An Historical Tragedy in The Dramatic Works (...)

24As it is unfinished, the manuscript of Shelley’s historical tragedy, Charles the First, does not contain detailed notes or directions as to staging, but it is possible to work out something of what he intended by referring to the resources of Covent Garden and by analogy with other plays of the period, supported by Shelley’s theoretical stance in the Defence of Poetry. By studying his notes with an awareness of the focus he had given to the scenes he had already concluded, I have been able to suggest events which would have been included in the play because of their dramatic possibilities, and to make a reasonable projection of its planned structure. Inevitably, this part of my work is speculative but it is underpinned by textual and contextual evidence. My assessment of the importance which Charles the First holds in Shelley’s work has been achieved by considering its relationship to his reading of histories and memoirs of the Civil War and seventeenth-century plays. The timeliness of the subject and the likelihood of the acceptance of Shelley’s play by Covent Garden in 1823 is demonstrated by their commissioning Mary Russell Mitford’s Charles the First that year.61 I believe that it would have been an effective stage play, both for the Georgian stage and for the stage of today. My work corroborates and extends the view of Cameron and Crook that, whatever the cause of Shelley’s abandonment of Charles the First in early 1822, it was not because it was proceeding in the direction of unstageability and that, had it been completed, it would have been an important and lasting work of art.

  • 62 A Defence of Poetry in SPP, pp. 520-521.
  • 63 Ronald Tetreault, ’Shelley and the Opera’ ELH, 48 (1981), 144-171.
  • 64 Crisafulli, ’Il viaggio olistico di Shelley in Italia: Milano, la Scala e l’incontro con l’arte di (...)
  • 65 Mercedes Viale Ferrero, ’Staging Rossini’ in The Cambridge Companion to Rossini, ed. by Emanuele S (...)
  • 66 John Rosselli, The Opera Industry in Italy from Cimarosa to Verdi (Cambridge: Cambridge University (...)
  • 67 Schlegel, pp. 41-42, 488.

25Prometheus Unbound and Hellas are great poems which are usually neither performed nor considered as drama and were published with no intention or expectation of their immediate performance, but their writing is rooted in actual theatrical practices. Shelley was aware that the theatre was a dynamic art form and his ’lyrical dramas’ accord with his theory of drama sufficiently to suggest that he thought them performable.62 I therefore consider the ways in which they show his qualities as an effective dramatist rather than a poet. Rather than analysing Prometheus Unbound for literary or mythmaking features, I look at Shelley’s introduction of song, scenic effect or suggestions of dance. It has been argued that Prometheus Unbound has a metaphorical and structural relationship with ballet and opera.63 I have been able to show that this was a practical performance relationship too, resulting from the influence of contemporary work in these forms. In a performance, there is no reason why Shelley’s stage directions should not be followed and dancing and singing take place. Curran and Lilla Crisafulli have suggested the influence upon Shelley of the great composer of ballets, Salvatore Viganò.64 The pre-eminence of his work and the popularity and vigour of ballet and opera in both England and Italy have been described more fully by dance and music historians.65 I have studied the libretti of the Viganò ballets which Shelley saw to show the ways in which he conceived drama as being developed through dance. I have been able to establish not only that the scenery, lighting and spectacular stage effects which would have been required to stage Prometheus Unbound were achievable by theatres at the time, but that Shelley had seen in Italy the possibilities of a state-subsidised theatre as opposed to the commercial English theatre.66 He may have published the ’lyrical dramas’ as poems while considering that they could be staged when political conditions became more favourable in a less censored, less commercial future theatre, that hinted at by Schlegel.67 These dramas would combine the best of ancient and modern; moral and political philosophy and poetry accompanied by acting, music, dancing and spectacular scenic effects. Since Shelley had studied Greek drama, visited the theatre at Pompeii and read contemporary authorities on Greek theatre, Prometheus Unbound drew upon ideas of classical Greek stagecraft as it was understood by the best lights of his day. His dramatic art was flexible enough to accommodate Aeschylus, Shakespeare and Viganò, and allowed him to combine effects from several eras.

  • 68 Timothy Webb, Shelley: A Voice not Understood (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1977), pp. (...)

26The influence of Aeschylus’ The Persians has been often mentioned in connection with Hellas, but it has not been considered before that Shelley used the structure of The Persians to write a modern, performable play.68

  • 69 SPP, pp. 430-431.
  • 70 Edith Hall and Fiona Macintosh, Greek Tragedy and the British Theatre 1660-1914 (Oxford: Oxford Un (...)

27Shelley suggests in his preface that Hellas should be considered as a drama, while calling it a ’mere improvise.’69 This is not as contradictory as it first appears since, having seen the improvisations of Tommaso Sgricci which were structured in the Greek style, he knew that this style was effective on stage. Hellas was also influenced by The Bride of Abydos by William Dimond (1818). Shelley completed Hellas shortly before Greek drama came into vogue on the London stage; the support for the very cause for which it was written brought stagings of Greek drama throughout the following decades.70 Had Hellas been performed, Shelley would have emerged at the forefront of theatrical innovation.

  • 71 Cameron, The Golden Years, p. 362; Seymour Reiter, A Study of Shelley’s Poetry (Albuquerque: Unive (...)
  • 72 N.I. White, ’Shelley’s Swellfoot the Tyrant in Relation to Contemporary Political Satires’ PMLA, 3 (...)
  • 73 Bratton, New Readings, pp. 100-110.
  • 74 Schlegel, p. 202; Lady Morgan, Italy, 3rd edn, 3 vols (London: H. Colburn, 1821) II, pp. 291n, 292 (...)
  • 75 David Mayer, Harlequin in His Element: The English Pantomime 1806-1836 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Uni (...)
  • 76 Burlesque Plays of the Eighteenth Century, ed. by Simon Trussler (Oxford: Oxford University Press, (...)

28Swellfoot the Tyrant has been described as a humourless failure, although such critics as Cameron, Seymour Reiter and Jennifer Wallace have acknowledged its comic and political qualities.71 Its similarity to prints and pamphlets relating to the Queen Caroline case has long been established, but recent studies of the political background have shown a connection between private theatre and political ’spouting clubs’.72 While there is no evidence that Shelley had performance in mind, the stage techniques used are in line with theatre practice of the time. Since its style lends itself to mimicry, I was prompted by Bratton’s discussion of Charles Mathews to consider a probable actor who may have inspired Shelley.73 Swellfoot has its roots in Aristophanes but Shelley appears to have also used elements of commedia dell’arte and its descendants, Punch, pantomime and burlesque, which his contemporaries believed to be direct descendants of ancient comedy.74 The most valuable work on the pantomime is still David Mayer’s and, on Punch, George Speaight’s.75 I was fortunate enough to see an Opera Restor’d production (2001) of The Dragon of Wantley, an eighteenthcentury burlesque included in Simon Trussler’s helpful collection, which showed that in performance this genre is much funnier, and more fun, than in reading.76 In considering the performance possibilities of Swellfoot the Tyrant, rather than its form as literary text, the nature of its humour is more fully revealed. It is worth considering how timely Shelley’s dramatic works were; in three cases, they were written at the point when the London theatre required a drama on just such a theme.

  • 77 Cox arrives at a similar conclusion; see Jeffrey N. Cox, ’The Dramatist’, p. 67.

29As the purpose of the study is to place Shelley in the context of the theatre, I have not attempted to make any detailed comparison with the drama of other poets, such as Goethe, Byron or Schiller, despite the importance of their own work and their influence on Shelley, nor have I discussed Shelley’s translations of drama. I conclude, however, that each of Shelley’s dramas exhibits a different aspect of his knowledge of stagecraft and that, if performed, they could be successful with audiences. Because of the close connection between A Philosophical View of Reform and A Defence of Poetry, I have also considered how Shelley re-interpreted his political philosophy in his dramas, all of which deal with the overthrow of a tyrant.77 They could therefore be seen as Shelley’s attempt to reach the mass audience he believed had eluded him when writing in other forms, such as the essay or narrative poem.

Notes

1 Allardyce Nicoll, A History of English Drama: 1600-1900, IV: Early Nineteenth-Century Drama 1800-1850, 2nd edn, 6 vols (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1955), pp. 60-63; Michael R. Booth, English Melodrama (London: Herbert Jenkins, 1965), p. 47; Marilyn Gaull, English Romanticism: The Human Context (New York: Norton, 1988), pp. 103-104; Joseph W. Donohue, Jr., Theatre in the Age of Kean (Oxford: Blackwell, 1975), p. 172.

2 Qtd in Philip Cox, Reading Adaptations, Novels and Verse Narratives on the Stage, 1790-1840 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000), p. 12.

3 Philip Cox, Reading Adaptations, pp. 12-13.

4 Joseph W. Donohue, Jr., Dramatic Character in the English Romantic Age (Princeton; Princeton University Press, 1970), p. 160.

5 Donohue, Dramatic Character, p. 160.

6 Timothy Webb, ’The Romantic Poet and the Stage’ in The Romantic Theatre: An International Symposium, ed. by Richard Allen Cave (London: Colin Smyth, 1986), pp. 12, 14-15, 18; Seven Gothic Dramas 1789-1825, ed. by Jeffrey N. Cox (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1992), p. 38; Philip Cox, Reading Adaptations, p. 13.

7 BLJV, p. 194; BLJVIII, pp. 59, 60, 68.

8 David V. Erdman, ’Byron’s Stage Fright: The History of his Ambition and Fear of Writing for the Stage’ ELH 6 (1939), 219-243 (pp. 232-233).

9 BLJVIII, pp. 56, 78.

10 Philip Cox, Reading Adaptations, p. 12.

11 Robertson Davies, ’Playwrights and Plays’ in The Revels History of Drama in English, 1750-1880 ed. by Michael R. Booth, Richard Southern, R. Davies, and F. and L.L. Marker, pp. 194-195.

12 Information from Dr. Kai Merten, University of Giessen, private communication, 23 August 2006.

13 Catherine Burroughs, Joanna Baillie and the Theater Theory of British Romantic Women Writers (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997), pp. 11-12, 21-22, 177 (for descriptions of closets).

14 Joanna Baillie’s Plays on the Passions (1798 edition) ed. by Peter Duthie (Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2001), pp. 108-109.

15 Thomas Campbell, Life of Mrs. Siddons, 2 vols (London: Effingham Wilson, 1834), p. 254; Henry Hart Milman, Preface to Fazio, 4th edn (London, 1816).

16 Lukas Erne, Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003; Thomas Holcroft, Love’s Frailties (London: Shepperson & Reynolds, 1794), p. A2.

17 A.W. Schlegel, Lectures in Dramatic Art and Literature, trans. by John Black, 2nd edn, rev. by Rev. A.J.W. Morrison (London: Geo. Bell & Sons, 1904), p. 32.

18 330; Thomas Campbell, Life of Mrs. Siddons, 2 vols (London: Effingham Wilson, 1834), p. 254.

19 Greg Kucich, ’Revising Women in British Romantic Theatre’ in Women in British Romantic Theatre: Drama, Performance and Society, 1790-1640, ed. by Catherine Burroughs (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 59-60.

20 John Bernard, Retrospections of the Stage, 2 vols (London: Henry Colburn, 1827), I, p. 137.

21 Gisborne & Williams, p. 124.

22 Remarks by Elizabeth Inchbald, The British Theatre, 25 vols (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees and Orme, 1808): Antony and Cleopatra, IV, As You Like It, III, A Bold Stroke for a Husband, XIX, A Careless Husband, IX, The Castle of Andalusia, XXII, The Dramatist, XX, De Montfort, XXIV, and qtd in Ellen Donkin, Getting into the Act (London: Routledge, 1995), p. 163. Inchbald’s comments on these and other plays leads Burroughs to a different conclusion. Burroughs, Closet Stages, p. 84.

23 James Henry Leigh Hunt, The Descent of Liberty (Philadelphia: for H. Hall, 1816), p. 44.

24 Wolfe, II, p. 198.

25 Cox, Seven Gothic Dramas, p. 58; Donohue, Theatre in the Age of Kean, p. 172.

26 Booth, English Melodrama, p. 47; Michael R. Booth, Prefaces to English Nineteenth-Century Theatre (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1980), pp. 18-19; Davies, ’Playwrights and Plays’ in The Revels, p. 193; Gaull, English Romanticism), pp. 103, 104.

27 St John Ervine, ’Shelley as Dramatist’ in Essays by Divers Hands, xv, ed. by Hugh Walpole (London: Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press, 1936).

28 Stuart Curran, Shelley’s Cenci: Scorpions Ringed with Fire (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970), pp. 225, 248; there have been no productions by the Royal Shakespeare Company or the National Theatre <http:/www/dswebhosting.info/Shakespeare/dserve> [accessed 17 September 2004]; <http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk> [accessed 17 September 2004].

29 William Jewett, Fatal Autonomy: Romantic Drama and the Rhetoric of Agency (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997); Michael Simpson, Closet Performances: Political Exhibition and Prohibition in the Dramas of Byron and Shelley (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998); Alan Richardson, A Mental Theatre (University Park and London: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1988), p. 100.

30 Anne McWhir, ’The Light and the Knife: Ab/Using Language in The Cenci’ KSJ, 38 (1989), 145-161; Julie A. Carlson, In the Theatre of Romanticism; Coleridge, Nationalism, Women (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994); Ronald L. Lemoncelli, ’Cenci as Corrupt Dramatic Poet’ ELN, 16 (1978), 103-117; Donna Richardson, ’The Harmatia of Imagination in Shelley’s Cenci’ KSJ, 54 (1995), 216-239; Stephen Cheeke, ’Shelley’s The Cenci: Economies of a ”Familiar” Language’ KSJ, 47 (1998), 142-160.

31 BSMXII, p. xlvi; Curran, ’Shelleyan Drama’ in The Romantic Theatre, pp. 68-69.

32 Jewett, Fatal Autonomy; Kenneth R. Johnston and Joseph Nicholes, ’Transitory Actions: Men Betrayed’ in British Romantic Drama, ed. by Terence Allan Hoagwood and Daniel P. Watkins (London: Associated University Presses, 1998).

33 Jeffrey N. Cox, ’The Dramatist’ in The Cambridge Companion to Shelley, ed. byTimothy Morton (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), pp. 65-84.

34 Cox, Seven Gothic Dramas, pp. 2-4.

35 The Broadview Anthology of Romantic Drama, ed by Jeffrey N. Cox and Michael Gamer (Toronto: Broadview Press, 2003), pp. vii-xxiv; Jeffrey N. Cox, ’Re-viewing Romantic Drama’ Literature Compass 1.1, doi:10.1111/j.1741-4113.2004.00096.x (2004).

36 Gaull, English Romanticism, p. 88; Jane Stabler, Burke to Byron, Barbauld to Baillie 1790-1830 (Basingstoke: Palgrave 2002), p. 47; Richardson, A Mental Theatre, p. 100; Simpson, Closet Performances, p. 377.

37 Cox, Seven Gothic Dramas; Five Romantic Plays 1768-1821, ed. by Paul Baines and Edward Burns (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000); Plays by George Colman the Younger and Thomas Morton, ed. by Barry Sutcliffe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983).

38 Eighteenth Century Women Dramatists, ed. by Melinda C. Finberg (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001); Tracy C. Davis and Ellen Donkin, Women and Playwriting in 19th Century Britain (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999); Ellen Donkin, Getting into the Act.

39 Julia Swindells, Glorious Causes, the Grand Theatre of Political Change, 1789 to 1833 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001).

40 Marc Baer, Theatre and Disorder in Late Georgian London (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992).

41 Steven E. Jones, Shelley’s Satire, Violence Exhortation and Authority (Illinois: De Kalb Northern Illinois University Press, 1994), pp. 4, 47; Iain McCalman, Radical Underworld (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), pp. 80-82; David Worrall, Theatric Revolution: Drama, Censorship and Romantic Period Subcultures, 1773-1832 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 249-252.

42 James Boaden, The Life of Mrs. Jordan (London: Edward Bull, 1831); Boaden, Memoirs of Mrs. Siddons; Bernard, Retrospections of the Stage; Thomas Dibdin, The Reminiscences of Thomas Dibdin, 2 vols (London: H. Colburn, 1827; repr. New York: AMS Press, 1970); Michael Kelly, Reminiscences, ed. by Roger Fiske (London: Oxford University Press, 1975).

43 The Plays of Elizabeth Inchbald, ed. by Paula Backscheider (New York: Garland, 1980); British Women Playwrights around 1800, gen. eds: Thomas C. Crochunis and Michael Eberle-Sinatra <http://www.etang.umontreal.ca/bwp1800/essays/crochunis_nassr99.html> [accessed 13 January 2007].

44 Richard Southern, The Georgian Playhouse (London: Pleiades, 1948); Richard Southern, Changeable Scenery (London: Faber & Faber, 1952); Richard Leacroft, The Development of the English Playhouse (London: Eyre-Methuen, 1973).

45 Sybil Rosenfeld, Georgian Scene Painters and Scene Painting (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981); Sybil Rosenfeld, Temples of Thespis: Some Private Theatres and Theatricals in England and Wales, 1700-1820 (London: The Society for Theatre Research, 1978); Diana de Marly, Costume on the Stage 1600-1940 (London; B.T. Batsford, 1982).

46 Donohue, Theatre in the Age of Kean; The London Theatre World, 1660-1800 ed. By Robert D. Hume (Carbondale & Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1980); The Stage and the Page: London’s “Whole Show’ in the Eighteenth Century Theatre ed. by Geo. Winchester Stone Jr (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981); W.G. Knight, A Major London Minor’: The Surrey Theatre (1805-1865) (London: The Society for Theatre Research, 1997).

47 George Taylor, The French Revolution and the London Stage, 1789-1805 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Jane Moody, Illegitimate Theatre in London (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Booth, English Melodrama; Booth, Prefaces to English Nineteenth-Century Theatre.

48 Cox and Gamer, Broadview Anthology; Cox, ’Romantic Drama’; Jacky Bratton,New Readings in Theatre History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003).

49 Jacky Bratton and Gilli Bush-Bailey, ’The Management of Laughter: Jane Scott’s Camilla The Amazon in 1998’ in Women in British Romantic Theatre.

50 Paul Ranger, ’Terror and Pity Reign in Every Breast’: Gothic Drama in the Patent Theatres, 1750-1820 (London: Society for Theatre Research, 1991).

51 Raymond Williams, Drama in Performance (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972), p. 4.

52 Wolfe, II, p. 330; Thomas Medwin, The Life of Percy Bysshe Shelley, 2 vols (London: Thomas Cautley Newby, 1847), I, p. 52.

53 Cox, ’The Dramatist’, p. 83n; Curran, Cenci, p. 158.

54 Kenneth N. Cameron, Shelley: The Golden Years (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1974), pp. 394-395; Donohue, Dramatic Character, p. 181.

55 Cox ’The Dramatist’, p. 71; Webb, ’The Romantic Poet and the Stage’ in The Romantic Theatre, p. 25.

56 Curran, Cenci, p. 253; Richard Allen Cave, ’Romantic Drama in Performance’ in The Romantic Theatre, p. 104.

57 Donohue, Dramatic Character, pp. 171-177.

58 Cox and Gamer, Broadview Anthology, p. xxiv.

59 R. Brimley Johnson, Shelley-Leigh Hunt: The Story of a Friendship (London: Ingpen and Grant, 1928), pp. 48-57.

60 Nicoll, pp. 196-197; Booth, English Melodrama, p. 47, for Booth’s comments on Shelley and the Romantic poets in general; Robertson Davies, ’Playwrights and Plays’ in The Revels, p. 193; K.N. Cameron and Horst Frenz, ’The Stage History of Shelley’s The Cenci’ PMLA, 60 (1945), 1080-1105; Curran, Cenci; Marcel Kessel and Bert O. States, ’The Cenci as a Stage Play’ PMLA, 72 (1960), 147-149; Bert O. States, Jr, ’Addendum: The Stage History of Shelley’s The Cenci’ PMLA, 65 (1957), 633-644.

61 M.R. Mitford, ’Original Preface’ to Charles the First: An Historical Tragedy in The Dramatic Works of Mary Russell Mitford, 2 vols (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1854), I. p. 243.

62 A Defence of Poetry in SPP, pp. 520-521.

63 Ronald Tetreault, ’Shelley and the Opera’ ELH, 48 (1981), 144-171.

64 Crisafulli, ’Il viaggio olistico di Shelley in Italia: Milano, la Scala e l’incontro con l’arte di Salvatore Viganò’ in Traduzione, echi, consonanze: dal Rinascimento al Romanticismo, a cura di Roberta Mullini e Romana Zacchi (Bologna: Clueb, 2002), pp. 163-183.

65 Mercedes Viale Ferrero, ’Staging Rossini’ in The Cambridge Companion to Rossini, ed. by Emanuele Senici (Cambridge; Cambridge University Press, 2004); Carlo Gatti, Il Teatro alla Scala: nella storia e nell’arte, 1778-1963, 2 vols (Milano: Ricordi, 1964); Ivor Guest, The Romantic Ballet in England (London: Pitman, 1954); Ivor Guest, The Romantic Ballet in Paris (London, Pitman, 1966); Ivor Guest, The Ballet of the Enlightenment (London: Dance Books, 1996); Luigi Rossi, Il Ballo alla Scala 1778-1970 (Milan: Edizione della Scala, 1972); William C. Smith, Italian Opera and Contemporary Ballet in London 1789-1820 (London: The Society for Theatre Research, 1955); Marian Hannah Winter, The Pre-Romantic Ballet (London: Pitman, 1974).

66 John Rosselli, The Opera Industry in Italy from Cimarosa to Verdi (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), pp. 49-50.

67 Schlegel, pp. 41-42, 488.

68 Timothy Webb, Shelley: A Voice not Understood (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1977), pp. 198-200; Earl R Wasserman, Shelley; A Critical Reading (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1971), pp. 377-378; Constance Walker, ’The Urn of Bitter Prophecy: Antithetical Patterns in Hellas ’ KSMB, 33 (1982), 36-48 (pp. 37-38).

69 SPP, pp. 430-431.

70 Edith Hall and Fiona Macintosh, Greek Tragedy and the British Theatre 1660-1914 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 270.

71 Cameron, The Golden Years, p. 362; Seymour Reiter, A Study of Shelley’s Poetry (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1967), p. 253; Jennifer Wallace, Shelley and Greece: Rethinking Romantic Hellenism (London: Macmillan, 1997), p. 75; Webb, The Violet in the Crucible (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976), p. 137; Ronald Tetreault, The Poetry of Life: Shelley and Literary Form (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1987), p. 158.

72 N.I. White, ’Shelley’s Swellfoot the Tyrant in Relation to Contemporary Political Satires’ PMLA, 36 (September 1921), 332-346; Worrall, Theatric Revolution; Jones, Shelley’s Satire; McCalman, Radical Underworld; John Earl, ’The Rotunda; Variety Stage and Socialist Platform’, Theatre Notebook, 58.2 (2004), 71-90.

73 Bratton, New Readings, pp. 100-110.

74 Schlegel, p. 202; Lady Morgan, Italy, 3rd edn, 3 vols (London: H. Colburn, 1821) II, pp. 291n, 292n.

75 David Mayer, Harlequin in His Element: The English Pantomime 1806-1836 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1969); George Speaight, Punch and Judy: A History (London: Studio Vista, 1970).

76 Burlesque Plays of the Eighteenth Century, ed. by Simon Trussler (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969).

77 Cox arrives at a similar conclusion; see Jeffrey N. Cox, ’The Dramatist’, p. 67.

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