Version classiqueVersion mobile
OpenEdition Books

The Theatre of Shelley

 | 
Jacqueline Mulhallen

Chapter Two: Shelley’s Theatregoing, Playreading and Criticism

Texte intégral

  • 1 Wolfe, II, p. 330; Medwin, Life, I, p. 52.
  • 2 Judith Pascoe, ’Proserpine and Midas’ in The Cambridge Companion to Mary Shelley, ed. by Esther Sc (...)
  • 3 Baer, Theatre and Disorder, p. 120.
  • 4 Mary Shelley, ’Note on The Cenci’, OSA, p. 336.

1The classification of Shelley’s plays as closet drama, which has been so often repeated, depends in part on the idea that he only rarely attended the theatre and did not like it or the audience when he did. His alleged lack of understanding of the theatre thus led to an inability to write performable drama. Shelley’s friend, Peacock, said he ’had a prejudice against theatres’ and his cousin Medwin said he ’rarely went to the play’.1 However, Medwin was not with Shelley in London and not for long in Italy, while Peacock wrote his memoir over forty years after Shelley’s death. The comment must also be put into the context of the theatre-loving period in which Shelley lived. His contemporaries would not have described Shelley as an ’avid theatre-goer’, as Judith Pascoe does, on the basis of the theatre-going entered in Mary Shelley’s journal.2 Francis Place, the radical reformer, regarded himself as having ’little interest in theatre’, yet he had ’seen most of our best acting [including] Tragedies and Comedies some of them twice or thrice’.3 Mary Shelley, however, explains that Shelley was ’not a playgoer’ because he ’was easily disgusted by the bad filling-up of the inferior parts’, a judgment which an infrequent theatregoer, ignorant of the art of acting, would be unable to make. 4

  • 5 Cameron, The Golden Years, pp. 394-395; Curran, Cenci, p. 158; Cox, ’The Dramatist’, p. 83n; Donoh (...)

2Neither Cameron nor Curran, who both emphasised Shelley’s talent as a dramatist, established whether he had actually seen the performances mentioned in Mary Shelley’s journal, although Cameron assumed that he had. Cox refers to Curran’s citation of Mary’s journal, but Curran himself was not sure that Shelley had seen the performances, saying that he ’educated himself in the study.’ Donohue felt that he could be certain of only four dramas that Shelley saw.5 Performances mentioned by Edward Williams and Claire Clairmont were not included in these assessments.

Shelley’s youth: Horsham and Windsor

  • 6 SCII, p. 509-520, for theatre, p. 514; PBSLI, p. 2; Kelly, Reminiscences, pp. 310-311, 265, 275.

3Shelley grew up as a member of the land-owning aristocracy whose way of life consisted of field sports, balls, assemblies, visits to Bath and London, theatre and opera. Although later friends like Peacock may have known little about it, a glimpse of this life can be seen from the diary of Harriet Grove, Shelley’s cousin and sweetheart for over two years, and from his 1808 letter to James Tisdall, a friend to whom he mentions the local balls and duck-shooting. A family such as the Shelleys was expected to patronise the Horsham Theatre as the Groves did the Salisbury Theatre. Timothy Shelley was a political associate of the Duke of Norfolk, who was a friend of Sheridan, and certainly went to the theatre. William Maddocks, M.P., who was to play an important part in Shelley’s life in 1812-1813, wrote a farce for an amateur company and often invited professional actors and musicians to his house at Tremadoc.6 Visiting the theatre was part of the upbringing of a young person of this class.

  • 7 Horsham Museum MS 333 X.2001.333.1.
  • 8 Ibid. MS 333 X.2001.333.5.
  • 9 Ibid. MS 333 X.2001.333.6.
  • 10 Playbill in exhibition at Horsham Museum.
  • 11 Horsham Museum MS 333 X.2001.333.8; Horsham Museum MS 333 X.2001.333.11.
  • 12 Ibid., MS 333 X.2001.333.7.
  • 13 Ibid., MS 333 X.2001.333.2.
  • 14 Nicoll, p. 238.
  • 15 Rosenfeld, Temples of Thespis, p. 19.
  • 16 Wolfe, II, p. 330; Roger Ingpen, Shelley in England (London: Kegan, Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1917), (...)

4There was no theatre building at Horsham in 1785 when Charles Osborne had to open the Town Hall ’as a theatre’,7 but it clearly formed part of the touring circuit since there were a number of applications for licences to perform there. By the year of Shelley’s birth, 1792, ’The Theatre, Horsham’ had been built, from which E. Everard wrote inviting T.C. Medwin, Shelley’s uncle, to his benefit.8 By 1798, it had become an institution in the town, managed by a Mr. Ellin,9 and was successful enough for another to be built in the 1820s.10 The usual procedure was for companies to tour to certain towns at the same time each year when the season at the main theatre finished, so it is likely that the same companies were regular visitors. Applications were made in two consecutive years by the Theatre Royal, Brighton,11 the theatres at ’Lewes, Eastbourne etc.’ (one of whose managers was Sampson Penley)12 and the Theatre Royal, Windsor,13 which was open only when the King was in residence.14 Its manager, Thornton, who applied for the licence to tour to Horsham, also managed the theatre at Reading and had assisted the Earl of Barrymore’s 1789 Wargrave theatricals.15 The Penley family also managed a number of theatres in the south of England, including one at Peckham, near Camberwell, where Timothy Shelley’s solicitor, William Whitton, lived. A close relationship between the theatres in Horsham and Windsor, the Penleys and Thornton, is therefore suggested, particularly as a Penley took over the Windsor theatre. It opened on 21 August 1815, when Shelley was living nearby at Bishopsgate, with A School for Scandal. It is possible that Shelley attended this performance with Peacock, since Peacock records seeing the play with Shelley without giving a date or place; if so, it may explain the report by Whitton, whose informant was a Mr. Penley, that Shelley had performed in the Windsor theatre since there was a strong likelihood of the actors recognising Shelley.16 The close relationship of the actor to the audience with the possibility of dialogue between performers and those in the stage boxes may have caused confusion, or Whitton may have been the butt of a joke by Penley, perhaps with Shelley’s knowledge that the information would be passed on to his father.

  • 17 Wolfe, I, pp. 25, 28, 23.
  • 18 Ibid., p. 41.
  • 19 Edward Dowden, The Life of Percy Bysshe Shelley (London: Kegan Paul, 1908), pp. 12-13.
  • 20 Michael Meredith, Five Hundred Years of Eton Theatre (Eton College, 2001), p. 10.
  • 21 Wolfe, II, pp. 23-24.

5Such a version of events is consistent with several anecdotes about Shelley’s boyhood and youth. Shelley’s younger sister Hellen says he was ’full of cheerful fun, and had all the comic vein so agreeable in a household’. She relates an anecdote of his disguising himself and being hired as a gamekeeper, which, if true, would show considerable acting ability and liking for a hoax. ’He would act’, she says, when he was obliged by their father to ’repeat long Latin quotations, probably from some drama’, and her memory of ’the expression of his face and movement of his arm’indicates that he did it well.17 Her opinion that he was a good storyteller was confirmed by his friend at Eton, Walter S. Halliday, a ’delighted and willing listener to his marvellous stories of fairyland, and apparitions, and spirits, and haunted ground’.18 Another schoolfellow, Andrew Amos, remembered Shelley entering ’with great vivacity’ into composing and performing plays with him for the entertainment of the younger boy in the house they shared at Eton.19 The King’s Scholars at Eton performed their versions of plays such as The Rivals regularly in the Long Chamber, and Shelley would have had the opportunity to see them, although as he was not a King’s Scholar himself he would not have taken part.20 Hogg recalled Shelley’s ability to ’relate or even act [joyous funny pranks] over again, in a vivacious manner, and with a keen relish and agreeable recollections of his own mischievous raillery’, such as Shelley’s re-enactment of an incident when he had frightened an old woman in a stage coach by reciting from Richard II: ’with a fiendish yell, he started up, threw open the window, and began to call, ”Guard! Guard!”’21

  • 22 PBSLI, pp. 14, 16; Wolfe, I, p. 26.

6Writing for the theatre was part of Shelley’s literary activity in 1810. In August, he wrote to his father’s protégé, Edward Graham, who was studying music in London with the musician, Joseph Woelff, asking him for information about sending a tragedy ’which is not yet finished’ to Covent Garden and a farce to Drury Lane. He sent the farce to Graham on 14 September, saying it had been written by a friend, and wanted Woelff to write an overture for it. Hellen Shelley says that her brother, ’with my elder sister, wrote a play secretly, and sent it to Mathews, the comedian; who, after a time, returned it, with the opinion, that it would not do for acting’.22 This suggests that Shelley had already seen Mathews perform, since reputation alone would have justified sending it to a number of other actors.

7This may have been in April/May 1810, when the Shelleys and Groves met in London. Harriet Grove recorded visits to plays on 26 and 27 April and

5. Covent Garden, 1828, unknown artist, from Fanny Kemble by Dorothie de Bear Bobbé, private collection.

  • 23 Eluned Brown, ed., The London Theatre 1811-1866 Selections from the Diary of Henry Crabb Robinson (...)

82 May, but not the titles or the theatre. It is unlikely, however, that visitors from the country would miss the newly opened Covent Garden Theatre, an attraction in itself, since London theatregoers like Crabb Robinson went to the newly opened theatres for the ’house not the performance’.23

  • 24 The Times, 3 May 1810.
  • 25 Boaden, Mrs, Siddons, II, p. 354.
  • 26 John Genest, Some Account of the English Stage, 10 vols (Bath: H.E. Carrington, 1832), VIII, p. 16 (...)
  • 27 Hunt, Critical Essays, p. 99.

9Siddons was playing some of her most popular roles there: Lady Randolph in Douglas, Euphrasia in The Grecian Daughter and Lady Macbeth.24 Although she was on the point of retirement, Boaden considered her to have lost little of her power. Indeed, in 1806/1807 her ’Volumnia, her Katharine, her Lady Macbeth, were at their nil ultra’.25 The Drury Lane company, on the other hand, was still playing in the small, borrowed, Lyceum. Their programme on 26 April was Riches, a not particularly well received version of Philip Massinger’s The City Madam, ’judiciously pruned’ by Sir James Bland Burgess; and on 27 April, Tobin’s The Honeymoon.26 Although Elliston’s performance in this was described by Hunt as ’one of the few […] that might absolutely be termed complete’,27 the Groves had already seen

6. ’Henry IV Pt I’, engraving by John White from a drawing taken in the theatre by Mr. R. Cruikshank, c. 1824, from Cumberland’s British Theatre, private collection.

10both it and No Song No Supper by Stephen Storace and Prince Hoare, the afterpiece which followed these plays, so it seems more likely they would have preferred Covent Garden’s programme.

  • 28 SCII, pp. 514, 577; The Times, 26 April 1810, 27 April 1810; PBSLI, p. 149.
  • 29 Boaden, Mrs. Siddons, II, p. 159.

11On 26 April, this was Henry IV Pt 1 with Charles and John Kemble and G.F. Cooke as Falstaff, which Shelley quoted from when writing to his father on 15 October 1811; and on 27 April, The Grecian Daughter, with Siddons.28 According to Boaden, she ’settled once and for ever all the great points of the character’ and did not change her performance.29 If Shelley saw it, he would have seen the gesture mentioned by Hunt to explain how she compensated for the dramatist’s inadequacy in what he called an ’insipid tragedy’:

  • 30 Hunt, Critical Essays, p. 20.

This heroine has obtained for her aged and imprisoned father some unexpected assistance from the guard Philotas: transported with gratitude, but having nothing from the poet to give expression to her feelings, she starts with extended arms and casts herself in mute prostration at his feet.30

  • 31 The Times, 27 April 1810; SCII, p. 577.
  • 32 Drury Lane opened with an oratorio since it was Lent (12 March 1794), Kelly, Reminiscences, pp. 20 (...)
  • 33 The Times, 3 May 1810; SCII, p. 577.

12On 2 May, the Covent Garden benefit, in aid of the Fund for the Relief of Aged and Infirm Actors, was more likely to attract the well-heeled and fashionable audience of which the Groves and Shelleys formed a part than the Drury Lane benefit for the popular actor, William Dowton. Siddons played Lady Randolph in Douglas and the operatic stars, Angelica Catalani and John Braham, were singing between the acts. It is disappointing not to be able to record that Shelley saw Kemble and Siddons perform Macbeth on 30 April, but Harriet, who had injured her foot the previous year, ’Staid at home all day on account of my foot the rest of the Party went to the Play all but Mama and Percy.’31 Macbeth, a favourite play of Shelley’s from childhood, was very often performed, Lady Macbeth being Siddons’s most famous role. It was the first play to be performed in the new Drury Lane (21 March 1794) and to open the new Covent Garden in 1809, and Shelley may have seen it already.32 On 3 May the party went to Catalani’s benefit opera, Pucitta’s La Vestale, followed by Gardel’s ballet Psiché.33

Theatregoing 1811-1818

  • 34 The Clairmont Correspondence, ed. by Marion Kingston Stocking (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University (...)

13When Shelley broke with his family, he rejected many aspects of the aristocratic way of life. Between 1811 and 1815 he lived in an unsettled fashion, sometimes in isolated places in Wales and Devon, which would not have allowed for theatregoing, but at others he was in London or Bath and he may have visited the Windsor theatre. Although Mary Shelley’s stepsister, Claire Clairmont, remarked to Byron in 1816 that Shelley never went to the theatre, she was then talking of a stage career for herself and might have felt ’never’ was the equivalent of ’rarely’.34 Mary Shelley’s letter to Hunt (5 March 1817), however, does imply that the Shelleys had not been to the theatre for some time:

  • 35 MWSLI, p. 33.

When a child I used to like going to the play exceedingly […] afterwards […] I went seldom principally from feeling the delight I once felt wearing out – but this last winter it has been renewed – and I again look forward to going to the theatre as a great treat quite exquisite enough, as of old, to take away my appetite for dinner.35

  • 36 PBSLII, p. 71.

14On the other hand, Shelley’s reference, when describing the theatre at Herculaneum, to ’two equestrian statues […] occup[y]ing the same place as the great bronze lamps did at Drury Lane’36 suggests that he must have visited the theatre in 1812/13, since after that season the lamps were removed.

15Shelley’s critique of Kean’s Hamlet is often quoted to reveal his dislike of the theatre and acting:

  • 37 MWSJ, p. 35.

Go to the Play. The extreme depravity & disgusting nature of the scenes. The inefficacy of acting to encourage or maintain the delusion. The loathsome sight of men of personating characters which do not & cannot belong to them. Shelley displeased with what he saw of Kean.37

  • 38 Donohue, Dramatic Character, pp. 169,168; PBSLI, pp. 316, 342.
  • 39 Hazlitt, III, p. 17; ’D – G –’ [George Daniel] ’Remarks’ Hamlet: A Tragedy In Five Acts by William (...)
  • 40 ’Theatrical Courier’, qtd in CCJ, p. 50.

16While it is an emphatic rejection of Kean’s performance and the theatre, it would be unwise to conclude, as Donohue does, that this was ’inveterate distaste’ and that ’Shelley’s animosity toward the theater ran high throughout his life’. Shelley, particularly when younger, tended to react vehemently yet change his mind readily when shown to be wrong. On 17 December 1812, he ordered Herodotus, Thucydides and Xenophon on Godwin’s recommendation, yet he had told Godwin in July that he had ’no doubts on the deleteriousness of classical education’.38 Moreover, Shelley was not the only one to disapprove of this performance. Among Kean’s admirers, Hazlitt said, ’We think his general delineation of the character wrong. It was too strong and pointed. There was often a severity, approaching to virulence, in the common observations and answers’ and George Daniel said, ’Mr. Kean’s performance has many beauties, but they are the beauties of the actor, not Hamlet’. Crabb Robinson, in 1819, found Kean as Hamlet ’never pleased me so little’.39 According to the Theatrical Courier, it was an ’uneven’ performance and his ’stopwatch’ rendering of ”To be or not to be” ’merited no applause’.40

  • 41 Donohue, Dramatic Character, p. 169.
  • 42 Donohue, Theatre in the Age of Kean, p. 150.
  • 43 Wolfe, II, p. 330; MWSJ, p. 193.

17Mary Shelley, as Donohue says, ’seldom reveals whether Shelley accompanied her to the theater on every visit she records.’41 Nevertheless, while her entries seldom include a complete list of the theatre party or a full programme, they are usually supported by entries in Clairmont’s journal, Peacock’s memoir and, in 1821 and 1822, the journal of their friend, Edward Williams. As prostitutes often used the theatre for picking up clients, a young woman at this time did not go to the theatre unescorted, and, unless there is information to the contrary, her companion was likely to have been Shelley.42 Perhaps she did not note his presence because she took it for granted, while she noted others because she wanted to remember theirs, as when she notes ’Go to the play in the Evening with Peacock – Fazio & the pantomime.’ There is no doubt Shelley was there since Peacock recorded his ’absorbed attention to Miss O’Neill’s performance’.43

18It is usually clear when the Shelleys did not go to the theatre together:

  • 44 MWSJ, pp. 193, 161.

C. & S. go to the opera – (Don G[iovanni])
H. Mrs. H. & I go to the opera – Figaro – I am very much pleased.44

  • 45 Ibid., pp. 195.

19They saw Figaro together on 24 February 1818.45

  • 46 Ibid., pp. 166, 171.
  • 47 CCJ, p. 82; Wolfe, II, p. 330.
  • 48 MWSJ, pp. 170, 192; PBSLI, p. 77; PBSLII, p. 382.

20In March 1817, Mary’s jotting ’See Manuel’ must include both of them as she had made a flying visit to London expressly in order to spend a couple of days with Shelley, and would have been unlikely to see the second play by Maturin, author of Bertram, without him. When she went to see Barbarossa (27 May 1817), however, he had returned to Marlow.46 When she was in Marlow and he in London, she did not record his theatre-going, one such occasion being 29 January 1818, when Shelley went to La Molinara with Claire, the Hunts, Peacock and Hogg. Another appears to have been to Don Giovanni with Peacock in ’the season of 1817’ when Peacock quotes him as asking, ’if the opera was comic or tragic’ and, ’after the killing of the Commendatore, he said: ”Do you call this comedy?”’47 Mary Shelley notes seeing Don Giovanni with Shelley on 23 May 1817, the day she arrived from Marlow to join him in London and again on 10 February 1818, when she joined him for the month in London before they left for Italy, suggesting it was chosen as a celebration, but, during February and March 1818, Shelley saw Don Giovanni three more times before Mary Shelley mentions Peacock accompanying them (7 March 1818). Shelley would not have asked the questions Peacock attributes to him on his sixth visit, which suggests confirmation of the 1817 date. This raises the possibility that Shelley made other unrecorded visits to the theatre when staying in London with the Hunts. Hunt had published Critical Essays on the Performers of the London Theatre in 1807 and was theatre reviewer for The Examiner, which Shelley read. He had described Hunt as ’a man of cultivated mind, & certainly exalted notions’, and from 1817 they were to become close friends; Shelley called Hunt his ’best’ friend.48 Hunt may have been influential in arousing or renewing Shelley’s interest in theatre.

  • 49 Hunt, Critical Essays, p. v.; Colin Visser, ’Scenery and Theatrical Design’, p. 99; Reviews of 181 (...)
  • 50 PBSLII, p. 69; MWSLI, pp. 445, 450.

21Shelley had the opportunity of learning Hunt’s attitude towards the performance of Shakespeare, his preference for ’natural’ acting and admiration of Siddons. The first play Hunt ever saw, The Egyptian Festival, included ’a trap which opens on to a subterranean passage leading to the sea’, and, he said, ’the scenery enchanted me’. He continued to appreciate this art, 49 a taste that he shared with Shelley, who told Hogg that the scenery at the opera house, San Carlo, Naples, ’exceeds any thing of the same kind in theatrical exhibition I ever saw before.’ After Shelley’s death, Mary Shelley wrote to both friends about the scenery for Der Freischütz, to Hogg adding that it ’would have made Shelley scream with delight’.50

  • 51 MWSJ, p. 163; Hazlitt, III, pp. 9, 155; MWSJ, pp. 164-165.

22At the Hunts, the Shelleys met the great theatre critic, William Hazlitt. Although no discussion of theatre with Hazlitt is noted, it is interesting to observe that shortly afterwards, they went to see The Beggar’s Opera and Kean in The Merchant of Venice. Hazlitt was an admirer of both Kean’s Shylock and Gay’s comedy.51

  • 52 Wolfe, II, p. 330.
  • 53 SCII, pp. 517, 577; The Times, 18 April 1809, 3 May 1810.

23Peacock emphasises his own role in introducing Shelley to the theatre and opera: ’I induced him one evening to accompany me to […] the School for Scandal’; ’I persuaded him to accompany me to the opera; ’With the exception of Fazio, I do not remember his having been pleased with any performance at an English theatre. Indeed I do not remember his having been present at any but the two above mentioned.’52 These are confident, authoritative remarks and the final sentence appears to clinch his argument by implying that Shelley went to only two performances, but he confesses his uncertainty in the phrase ’I do not remember’. Since Shelley had seen at least two operas, La Vestale and Teresa e Claudio, before they met, Peacock’s role might not have been as important as he implies.53 This, coupled with the possibility that he may have forgotten visits made so long ago, calls into question the reliability of his opinions.

7. ’Cut wood with bay and mountains’, watercolour (artist unknown). Set design for ’Winter’s Tale’, undated.

  • 54 PBSLII, pp. 330-331; for the popularity of telling tall stories or ’bamming’ among Shelley and his (...)
  • 55 Doris Langley Moore, Lord Byron – Accounts Rendered (London: John Murray, 1974), p. 260.

24Peacock may also have been a victim of Shelley’s practical jokes, as he was to be in 1821, when Shelley told him that Byron’s menagerie consisted of ’ten horses, eight enormous dogs, three monkeys, five cats, an eagle, a crow, and a falcon’, and ’on the grand staircase, five peacocks, two guinea hens, and an Egyptian crane’.54 There were actually only nine horses, two monkeys, two or three dogs, and a few birds. 55 It is quite possible that he was also teasing Peacock with this reaction to A School for Scandal:

  • 56 Wolfe, II, p. 330.

When, after the scenes which exhibited Charles Surface in his jollity, the scene returned, in the fourth act, to Joseph’s library, Shelley said to me: ’I see the purpose of this comedy. It is to associate virtue with bottles and glasses, and villany with books.’56

8. ’The School for Scandal’, wood engraving by Mr. Bonner from a drawing taken in the theatre by Mr. R. Cruikshank, c. 1824.

  • 57 Rosenfeld, Georgian Scene Painters, p. 25.

25It is very unlikely that Shelley had no knowledge of one of the most popular plays of his day, both on the professional and amateur stages, before seeing it with Peacock. Shelley’s criticism appears innocent and naive, but it is witty and accurate. Sheridan did wish to associate the virtue of warm-hearted affection with hard-drinking, spendthrift Charles and Joseph’s villainy is associated with books by its revelation in a library even if the intention was to show his hypocrisy. In performance, this association had a strong visual emphasis. Scenery was an added audience attraction, often included in playbills, and the scenery for the library was wellknown and reproduced in prints.57 If this was the occasion at the Windsor Theatre mentioned earlier, Shelley might have been in a mischievous mood and willing to tease both his father and Peacock.

Opera

  • 58 Wolfe, II, p. 330.
  • 59 For visits, see MWSJ, p. 196; CCJ, p. 85; for reviews, see Hazlitt, III, p. 205; Smith, Italian Op (...)
  • 60 Guest, Romantic Ballet in England, pp. 30-31; PBSLII, p. 4.

26Peacock goes on to say that Shelley ’from this time till he finally left England […] was an assiduous frequenter of the Italian Opera’ and Shelley would hear Camporesi and Catalani again in Italy. Of Shelley’s recorded visits to the opera, six were to Don Giovanni. According to Peacock, Shelley said that Ambrogetti, as the Don, ’seem[ed] to be the very wretch he personates’.58 Although Hazlitt disagreed, saying that ’we neither saw the dignified manners of the Spanish nobleman, nor the insinuating address of the voluptuary’, Shelley’s opinion of Ambrogetti’s ability to embody the character accorded with the critics of The Theatrical Indicator, August 1817, who described him as ’the representative of a dissolute yet finished cavalier’, and the Morning Chronicle (14 April 1817), for whom the part ’was performed in the most perfect manner by Ambrogetti, both as an actor and as a singer.’ Shelley saw Ambrogetti again in La Molinara when ’he drew repeated plaudits by his exquisite humour, and was not less successful in his singing.’ Fodor took the title role ’with a charming naiveté’. Shelley had heard her as Zerlina in Don Giovanni and in Paër’s Griselda. When he saw Fazio, he would also have seen The Libertine which followed it, a version of Shadwell’s Don Juan by Isaac Pocock with Mozart’s music. Charles Kemble played the Don, ’as tame as any saint’, according to Hazlitt; his arias were sung by another artist who the Shelleys were to hear again in Italy, John Sinclair. Hazlitt also describes the impressive use of machinery and spectacle from this production which Shelley appears to have recalled it in Prometheus Unbound.59 After the departure of Armand Vestris as ballet-master at the King’s Theatre in 1817, however, the London ballet declined because of mediocre choreography, despite excellent artistes. Shelley’s unfavourable comparison with La Scala, ’We have no Miss Millani here – in every other respect, Milan is unquestionably superior’ was entirely accurate.60

  • 61 Michael R. Booth, ’Public Taste, the Playwright and the Law’ in The Revels, p. 30.

27Shelley therefore can hardly have been as ignorant of opera, ballet or drama as Peacock implies, although he was neither a professional nor a connoisseur. Unlike an evening at the theatre today, an evening at the theatre in the Georgian era was an introduction to a variety of styles, since it was ’a regular programme of a tragedy or a comedy or a ballad opera followed by a farce or pantomime, songs, dances, other speciality numbers or orchestral music before during and between the individual pieces’.61 As Mary Shelley sometimes noted these afterpieces in her journal as well as or instead of the mainpiece, it is clear that the Shelleys stayed for the whole programme. Shelley benefited from seeing this variety, from tragedy to burlesque and performers like the Kembles, Siddons, G.F. Cooke, Kean, Grimaldi, O’Neill and Jordan.

28In all, Shelley’s recorded theatre attendances before he left England in 1818 total 25. He saw most of the plays listed in Mary Shelley’s journal, but there are evident gaps in the records before they met, when they were apart or when a journal is missing. It is evident that Shelley’s theatre-going was not limited to what they record since the journals and memoirs of his friends provide extra information. The choice of theatre was perhaps decided by others or influenced by the availability of free entry through Hunt’s theatrical connections, but, if the pattern reflects Shelley’s own taste, it does not accord with Peacock’s picture of one who disliked theatre and comedy. Shelley saw the tragedies Richard III, Hamlet, Fazio and Manuel, and, assuming the plays referred to by Harriet Grove in 1810 were at Covent

29Garden, Douglas, The Grecian Daughter and Henry IV Pt 1. The rest were comedies or light opera.

  • 62 MWSJ: for Fazio see pp. 193, 196, 662, for Bertram and Manuel see pp. 131, 166, for Rosmunda see p (...)
  • 63 SPII, p. 720; Carlson, In the Theatre of Romanticism, p. 193.

30Despite his lack of admiration for Vittorio Alfieri’s style, Fazio’s morality and Maturin’s poetry, Shelley attended performances of Milman’s Fazio and Alfieri’s Rosmunda, both of which he had already read, and a second play by Maturin, Manuel, whose Bertram he had read but missed when it was performed in 1816.62 This indicates a desire to see how the actual performance compared with the experience of reading the play. Critics such as Michael Rossington and Julie Carlson have seen the influence of Lewis’s The Castle Spectre and Coleridge’s Remorse on The Cenci, so it is surprising that, given their frequent performance and Shelley’s admiration for their authors, no attendance at either is recorded.63 To Don Giovanni, Viganò’s ballets and Fazio, he went more than once, which supports the view that the performances greatly interested him.

Shelley’s theatre-going in Italy

  • 64 Tidworth, Theatres, p. 86; MWSJ, p. 202, 202n.; CCJ, p. 89.
  • 65 Maria Grazia Amidei, Il Teatro Goldoni di Venezia (Università degli Studi di Urbino, Anno Accademi (...)
  • 66 John Rosselli, Music and Musicians in Nineteenth-Century Italy (London: Batsford, 1991), p. 57; Ti (...)
  • 67 Ferrero, ’Staging Rossini’, pp. 204-206; Colin Visser, ’Scenery and Technical Design’, p. 83.
  • 68 Rosselli, The Opera Industry, p. 34.

31The Shelleys, on their very first night in Italy, attended the Teatro Regio, Turin, ’the admiration of Europe’, but they did not understand the opera they saw or even ’get at its tit[t]le’.64 Thereafter, they were to visit theatres in all the major cities. Most often they saw opera, but they also saw ballet, plays and the improvvisatore Sgricci. It should be remembered that at this period before the unification of Italy, each Italian city had its own laws, including censorship restrictions. When Rossini’s operas were performed, they were changed in accordance with the different cities’ regulations. The recent background of each city was also different, affecting the way the theatre had developed.65 Not all these theatres were equal in quality, either in architecture or musicianship. The large foyers were given over to gambling and hosted the masked balls which ended the carnivals. Nevertheless Italy had been at the forefront of theatrical architecture from the sixteenth century and was still ’the leading nation as far as theatre architecture was concerned’ where they ’experimented with different shapes […] to attain best acoustic effects’. English theatre buildings, with the horseshoe-shaped or rectangular auditorium, derived from the Italian model.66 Italian scene painters had led the way in this art and had invented the system of movable flats changed in full view of the audience, which was in use in London theatres, and stage tricks such as collapsing walls, termed diroccata. There was a system applied of using stock scenes for opera buffa but new designs for opera seria and historical and geographical accuracy was sought in set design and costume.67 Italy had given the world two outstanding theatrical art forms, opera and the commedia dell’arte. As in England, there were touring circuits, for example: Florence, Lucca, Pisa, Leghorn, Siena, Perugia, Foligno.68

  • 69 Rosselli, Music and Musicians, pp. 21, 54-57,60-61; Rosselli, The Opera Industry, p. 43; MSWJ, pp. (...)

32Milan had been Napoleon’s capital of Italy (1796-1814), when it had developed a theatre-going middle class and La Scala had become the centre of Italian musical life. There were boxes of up to six tiers, miniature drawing rooms, and, unlike other Italian theatres, a gallery, as in London. The auditorium was darkened with only the stage lit. Italian audiences appeared to pay little attention to the opera, only pausing in their gossip and eating for favourite arias, but their frequent attendance meant they knew the operas well. At La Scala, the favourite performing art in the early nineteenth century was ballet, but this was perhaps because of the genius of Viganò, whose ballets made a profound impression on Shelley, one which will be more fully described in Chapter 5.69

  • 70 Maria Grazia Amidei, Il Teatro Goldoni di Venezia, pp. 149-150.
  • 71 Nicola Mangini, I teatri di Venezia (Milano: Mursia, 1974), pp. 86-89.
  • 72 Lo spettacolo maraviglioso: il Teatro della Pergola, l’opera a Firenze, catalogo a cura di Marcell (...)
  • 73 MWSJ, p. 230.
  • 74 BLJVI, p. 18.
  • 75 David Kimbell, Italian Opera (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), p. 458.
  • 76 La Gazzetta Privilegiata di Venezia, N. 224, 8 October 1818.

33Under Austrian occupation, the censorship laws in Venice banned anything considered to be political or licentious, to undermine the dignity of royalty or nobility, or to allude to suicide or prostitution. Carlo Goldoni’s work was accepted in blocco except for a few references considered ’too libertine’. Equestrian and acrobatic acts were popular, and there were separate theatres for prose and opera.70 At this period, La Fenice was only open for the carnival season, so the Shelleys saw Rossini’s Otello at San Benedetto.71 The librettist, Francesco Beria di Salsa, had to take into account the censorship laws72 and the result, according to Mary Shelley, was ’a wretched piece of business’.73 Byron, who saw it the previous February, complained that ’the first singer would not black his face’.74 Their criticism may have referred to the story being unlike Shakespeare, however, and not to the music. A review in La Gazzetta Privilegiata di Venezia also describes ’Otello’ as ’questo Moro del corpo bianco’ (this Moor with the white body), but particularly praises the singing and concedes that Rossini’s music was exciting. David Kimbell considers that ’Act III of Otello surpasses all earlier Italian operas’ whose music ’impede[s] as little as possible the thrust of the drama’75 and as Shelley seems to have been particularly responsive to music, elements of this production may have influenced The Cenci. Otello was sung by Nicola Tacchinardi, one of the leading singers of the time whom the Shelleys were to hear again in Pisa.76

  • 77 Luigi Rasi, I comici italiani, 2 vols (Firenze: Fratelli Bocca, 1905), I, pp. 853-854; II, p. 265; (...)

34A celebrated company, formed in Trieste in 1830, was that of Natale Fabbrici and Luigia Petrelli. It appears they had collaborated as early as October 1818, when ’comica compagna Petrelli e Fabrizi’ were playing at the Teatro Vendramin S. Luca (now Teatro Goldoni). On 23 October, they performed Arlecchino flagellò dei cavallieri serventi. The title suggests it was satirical and topical and, as it was neither a Gozzi nor a Goldoni play, it must have been a commedia dell’arte scenario, perhaps created by the company, but now lost. Mary Shelley noted ’Arlequino’ that night but added that Shelley ’spent the evening with’ Byron. This need not, however, preclude his (or Byron’s) prior visit to the theatre. Byron kept very late hours, and the phrase ’spent the evening’ after a theatre performance also occurs in Edward Williams’s journal in January 1822: ’T– and I go to the opera and afterwards passed the evening with him’. Shelley may have seen other commedia performances when absent from Mary Shelley in Venice during August and October 1818.77

  • 78 Morgan, Italy, II, pp. 443-444.
  • 79 Rosselli, Music and Musicians, p. 50; Rosselli, The Opera Industry, p. 62; MWSJ, p. 238.

35In contrast to the large and elegant opera houses which were subsidised by the government in Naples, Turin and Milan, there were no professional orchestras in Rome: ’Rome was for churches, not for theatre; […] the Pope acknowledged no such establishments.’78 In 1816, Rossini found that the barber who shaved him was playing in the orchestra, and the players were as likely to be a goldsmith or upholsterer by day. The buildings were wooden and the hygiene appalling. Mary Shelley experienced ’the worst [opera] I ever saw’ in Rome on 22 November 1819, one impossible to trace since she gives no theatre, title, composer or artist.79

  • 80 Rosselli, Music and Musicians, p. 57; Bergman, Lighting in the Theatre, p. 209; Stendhal, Correspo (...)
  • 81 Guest, Romantic Ballet in Paris, p. 162.

36At San Carlo, Naples there were six tiers of boxes and all the audience was seated, unlike at other court theatres where many had to stand. It had a proscenium 50 ft. broad and high, a stage 114 ft. deep with eight sets of wings ending in a backstage where the scenery could be built up independent of wing trolleys. Shelley’s admiration for the scenery extended to the Opera House which he found ’very beautiful’. Like Stendhal, he thought the ballet at Naples ’inferior to that of Milan, where that species of exhibition called a serious ballet is conducted with incomparable effect’ and thought that he would not be able to attend often since ’the boxes are so dear and the pit so intolerable’.80 The ballet master at Naples whose ballets were inferior to Viganò’s at Milan was Salvatore Taglioni, Marie Taglioni’s uncle.81

  • 82 Zambelli and Tei, A teatro con i Lorena, pp. 84, 87.

37The Shelleys lived in Florence from October 1819 to February 1820. Ferdinand III was a popular and relatively liberal ruler who had permitted a number of theatres before the French occupation, during which period they were very restricted and suspected of subversive activity. Upon Ferdinand’s restoration he immediately gave them more liberty and they were beginning to increase in number. The chief were the beautiful La Pergola for opera and ballet and Il Cocomero, which Alfieri had attended, for plays.82

  • 83 MWSJ, p. 298.
  • 84 Archivio Storico La Fenice <http://www.archiviostoricolafenice.org:49542/ArcFenice/> [accessed 9 December 2010]; Stendhal, (...)
  • 85 MWSJ, p. 304, 304n.
  • 86 Information from Professor Marcello de Angelis, Dipartimento di Storia delle Arti e dello Spettaco (...)

38On 9 October 1819, Mary Shelley noted ’Go to the opera and see a beautiful ballet’, 83 without giving the title. Unfortunately, it cannot be identified as the October number of La Gazzetta di Firenze is missing, but as Viganò’s company toured, and had performed Mirra and La Spada di Kenneth at La Fenice during the 1819 carnival season, it may have been one of theirs.84 The ballet Otello, most probably Viganò’s, was shown following Giovanni Simone Mayr’s La rosa bianca, e la rosa rossa (The White Rose and The Red Rose) at La Pergola on 2 January 1820, when Shelley went to the theatre with ’with Mr. Tomkins’.85 Il Cocomero was showing a comedy by Nota, La Lusinghiera (The Flattering Woman),86 but it is more probable that Otello was the choice. Shelley was unlikely to have been attracted by the subject of the comedy and tended to see favourite works again, while Tomkins, an English artist perhaps not fluent in Italian, may have preferred a visual representation and perhaps to see the famed scenery of Sanquirico.

  • 87 CCJ, pp. 132-133.
  • 88 MWSJ, p. 359, 359n.; dell’Ira, I teatri di Pisa, pp. 38, 39.
  • 89 Ibid., pp. 343, 349-350; Gisborne & Williams, p. 135.

39The Shelleys lived in Pisa longer than anywhere else in Italy, and went to the theatre more frequently there than in other Italian cities. Although Mary Shelley’s record seldom provides titles, the journals of Edward Williams and Claire Clairmont sometimes do. After Angelica Catalani made Pisa her home in 1821, Clairmont heard her sing in Rossini’s Aureliano in Palmira.87 Mary Shelley noted hearing Tacchinardi sing on 2 April 1821, probably his most highly praised role in I Misteri Eleusini, which was in the repertoire of the Teatro Rossi, Pisa and was given on 27 April 1821.88 They heard Mercadante’s Maria Stuarda on 13 January 1822. They also heard the improvvisatore Sgricci perform. Apart from Rosmunda, Shelley saw another play with Williams on 18 March 1822; Williams comments upon the acting not the singing.89

Schlegel’s influence upon Shelley

  • 90 Ibid., p. 199; for Hunt’s familiarity, see Hunt’s Dramatic Criticism, p. 296; for Godwin’s, see Mi (...)

40Hazlitt, Hunt and Godwin were all familiar with Schlegel’s A Course of Lectures on Dramatic Art and Literature, which Shelley read aloud on the coach to Italy.90 Shelley’s A Defence of Poetry reflects a view of the drama that is very similar to Schlegel’s, suggesting that his opinion of theatre was influenced by these lectures.

41After speaking of the potential influence of the dramatist, Schlegel remarks:

  • 91 Schlegel, p. 41.

The theatre, where many arts are combined to produce a magical effect; where the most lofty and profound poetry has for its interpreter the most finished action, which is at once eloquence and animated picture, while architecture contributes her splendid decorations, and painting her perspective illusions, and the aid of music is called in to attune the mind, or to heighten by its strains the emotions which already agitate it […] has an extraordinary charm for every age, sex and rank, and has ever been the favourite amusement of every cultivated people.91

42Shelley says in A Defence of Poetry:

  • 92 SPP, p. 521.

The drama being that form under which a greater number of modes of expression of poetry are susceptible of being combined than any other, the connexion of poetry and social good is more observable in the drama than in whatever other form […] The connexion of scenic exhibitions with the improvement or corruption of the manners of men, has been universally recognised: in other words, the presence or absence of poetry in its most perfect and universal form, has been found to be connected with good and evil in conduct and habit.92

  • 93 Schlegel, p. 120; MWSJ, p. 246; SPP, p. 517.
  • 94 Schlegel, p. 34; SPP, pp. 520, 518.

43Schlegel’s discussion of Greek drama is fuller than Shelley’s, but there are many parallels. Schlegel admired Aeschylus and Sophocles more than Euripides and Shelley classed Euripides below the earlier dramatists.93 Schlegel believed that the large scale of Greek drama and the inclusive nature of the audience derived from ’the republican notion of the Greeks’ and that ’the theatre was invented in Athens and in Athens alone was it brought to perfection’. Shelley said ’it is indisputable that the art itself never was understood or practised according to the true philosophy of it, as at Athens’ and connected the value of the art with the social and political background, saying a drama ’of the highest order’ teaches ’self-knowledge and self-respect’; the greatness of the drama at Athens corresponded to the greatness of the society it reflected.94

  • 95 SPP, pp. 518, 525; ’On the Manners of the Ancient Greeks’ in Shelley’s Prose, or, The Trumpet of a (...)

44Shelley believed that human endeavour had reached its highest point so far in fifth-century Athens when the arts, sciences and political thought had flourished as never before or since and that, through its poetry, the ’energy, beauty and virtue’ of that era could be transmitted and understood by other ages. The greatness of Athenian culture would be reborn in a democratic future and would be even better because of moral advances such as the abolition of slavery and the improvement in the position of women. Like Godwin and Schlegel, he attributed these to the influence of the Christian religion.95

  • 96 PBSLI, pp. 342, 271; PBSLII, p. 360.
  • 97 PBSLII, p. 53; MWSJ: for Aeschylus see pp. 631-632, for Euripides see p. 646, for Sophocles see pp (...)
  • 98 PBSLII, p. 364; SPP, p. 513.

45His admiration for Greek drama was partly due to its political significance, first associated with his own political ideas when he wrote to Hogg (May 1811) of Antigone, ’Did she wrong when she acted in direct in noble violation of the laws of a prejudiced society.’ The works recommended by Godwin, which he ordered in December 1812, included Aeschylus and Euripides, and in October 1814 he quoted Prometheus Bound in Greek, linking it to his own personal situation. He read the Greek dramatists continually.96 He seems to have thought Aeschylus the greatest of the Greek dramatists, classing him with Homer. Mary Shelley’s journal, although it cannot be a complete record of Shelley’s re-reading of favourite authors, shows that he read Aeschylus more frequently than Sophocles or Euripides.97 While he never lost his admiration for Sophocles’ Antigone, both the depiction of the character and the choruses, it is ’the choruses of Aeschylus’ he cites in A Defence of Poetry as examples of the ’highest poetry’.98

  • 99 Hall & Macintosh, Greek Tragedy, pp. 222-226, 245-256 (schools), 197-199 (chorus), 184, 187n.; Wil (...)
  • 100 BLJVIII, p. 57.

46In the 21st century, audiences, while they may not read Greek, are familiar with Greek drama in performance. Greek drama appears on the curriculum of drama schools and university drama departments; tourists see performances at Epidaurus; and productions of Antigone or the Oresteia are given at the National Theatre or form part of the touring circuit in Britain. But those of Shelley’s contemporaries who could read Greek did not see it performed. Edith Hall and Fiona Macintosh have shown that, although there was a tradition of performance of Greek drama in schools in the eighteenth century, it was considered impossible to perform in the theatre partly because of the chorus, which seemed unrealistic to theatre practitioners even after the Greek War of Independence had aroused popular interest. Their belief that William Mason’s drama Caractacus included a ’singing, dancing, involved and interactive chorus’ is based on the 1796 edition, but when Mason himself adapted and shortened the version for performance at Covent Garden (6 December 1776), he reduced the chorus to occasional four-line musical interludes (by Thomas Arne).99 It is notable that Byron, while insisting that he wanted his plays to be ’like the Greeks’, emphasised ’of course, no chorus.’ Since the chorus was an integral part of most Greek drama, the remark shows Byron’s bias towards the neo-classical tradition followed by Racine and Alfieri rather than that of ancient Greece itself.100

  • 101 Schlegel, p. 237; SPP, p. 518, 520.

47During the Renaissance, a belief arose that the classical Greek drama had to conform to the rules of the ’three unities’, the Unity of Time, Place and Action. This was supposed to have derived from Aristotle, but it is a misunderstanding of what he wrote. Greek drama does not so conform and, as Schlegel points out, Aristotle discussed only Unity of Action ’with any degree of fulness’, ’with respect to the Unity of Time, he merely throws out a vague hint; while of the Unity of Place he says not a syllable.’101 Although Shelley does not discuss this in A Defence of Poetry, he appears to have observed the truth of what Schlegel said.

  • 102 Ibid., pp. 476-479, 483-484.
  • 103 SPP, p. 520.

48Schlegel discusses the parallels between the reign of Charles II and what he perceives to be the decline of drama: ’The influence which the government of this monarch had on the manners and spirit of the time’ led to ’undisguised immorality’. The drama of Dryden and Davenant was technically innovative, but their desire to provide ’light and brilliant entertainment’ for the monarch led to the ’offensiveness’ of Restoration comedy and the lack of real tragedy. Cato, ’a tragedy after the French model’, was ’a feeble and frigid piece.’102 Shelley wrote, ’When society decays the drama sympathizes with that decay […] The period in our own history of the grossest degradation of the drama is the reign of Charles II’. It is then that ’comedy loses its ideal universality’ and, referring to Cato as an example of neo-classical drama, he continues, ’tragedy becomes a cold imitation of the great masterpieces of antiquity divested of all harmonious accompaniments of the kindred arts, and often the very form misunderstood’.103 The misunderstanding referred to is presumably the idea of ’the Unities’. Shelley’s opposition to the neo-classical drama is clear from his letter to Horace Smith (14 September, 1821):

  • 104 PBSLII, p. 349.

He [Byron] is occupied in forming a new drama, and, with the views which I doubt not will expand as he proceeds, is determined to write a series of plays, in which he will follow the French tragedians and Alfieri, rather than those of England and Spain, and produce something new, at least, to England. This seems to me the wrong road; but genius like his is destined to lead and not to follow. He will shake off his shackles as he finds they cramp him. I believe he will produce something very great, and that familiarity with the dramatic power of human nature, will soon enable him to soften down the severe and unharmonising traits of his ’Marino Faliero’.104

  • 105 Ibid., p. 317.
  • 106 BLJVIII, p. 57; BLJV, p. 86; BLJIX, p. 26.

49To Mary Shelley he said that Marino Faliero had been written ’from a system of criticism fit only for the production of mediocrity’.105 It is to be expected that he had discussed these ideas with Byron himself. Byron said that he wrote with the idea of ’producing regular tragedies like the Greeks – but not in imitation – merely the outline of their conduct adapted to our own times and circumstances’. He had met Schlegel at Mme. de Staël’s home at Coppet and described him as her ’Dousterswivel’ (swindler), so he may have had some impatience with his ideas.106

  • 107 Schlegel, pp. 53-54, 53n.

50Schlegel gave a detailed description of Greek theatre, including the structure of the stage and auditorium, which had relied on the description of Vitruvius but was later confirmed by his examination of the theatres of Herculaneum and Pompeii. These he describes as ’quite open above, and their drama were always acted in day, and beneath the canopy of heaven […] The Greeks […] lived much more in the open air than we do, and transacted many things in public places which with us usually take place within doors.’ He added that ’they carefully made choice of a beautiful situation’ for the theatre.107 Shelley also saw, with keen interest, the ancient Greek theatres at Pompeii and Herculaneum:

  • 108 PBSLII, p. 71.

We entered the town from the side towards the sea, & first saw two theatres, one more magnificent than the other, strewn with the ruins of the white marble which formed their seats & cornices wrought with deep bold sculpture. In the front between the stage & the seats is the circular space occasionally occupied by the chorus. The stage is very narrow, but long; and divided from this space by a narrow enclosure parallel to it, I suppose for the orchestra. On each side are the consuls boxes, & below in the theatre at Herculaneum were found two equestrian statues of admirable workmanship occup[y]ing the same place as the great bronze lamps did at Drury Lane. The smallest of these theatres is said to have been covered, though I should doubt it. From both you see, as you sit on the seats, a prospect of the most wonderful beauty.108

  • 109 Ibid., p. 74; Baldassare Conticello, Pompeii Archaeological Guide ([n.p.]: Officine Grafiche De Ag (...)

51He added, ’Their theatres were all open to the mountains and the sky.’ The detailed examination and the conclusions he arrives at are very close to Schlegel’s. His ’doubt’ that the smaller had actually been covered, was due to not realising it was a music theatre or odeum.109

52From his reading of Schlegel and his examination of the theatres of Pompeii and Herculaneum, Shelley had a good understanding of how Greek drama was performed: to an audience composed of the entire population, familiar with poetry and the legends it drew on, in masks, with dancing and music, in the open air with a view of wonderful beauty. He wrote:

  • 110 SPP, p. 518.

the Athenians employed language, action, music, painting, the dance, and religious institution to produce a common effect in the representation of the highest idealisms of passion and of power; each division in the art was made perfect in its kind by artists of the most consummate skill, and was disciplined into a beautiful proportion and unity one towards the other. On the modern stage a few only of the elements capable of expressing the image of the poet’s conception are employed at once. We have tragedy without music and dancing; and music and dancing without the highest impersonations of which they are the fit accompaniment, and both without religion and solemnity. Religious institution has indeed been usually banished from the stage.110

  • 111 Ibid., p. 518; PBSLII, p. 219.
  • 112 Schlegel, pp. 50, 528; SPP, p. 514.
  • 113 Preface to Prometheus Unbound in SPII, p. 472.

53Contemporary drama in England, although it still attracted a wide cross section of the community in the 1810s and 1820s, was a commercial venture performed indoors. Music and dancing had become separate and more frivolous art forms. The universal religious feeling which informed the Athenian drama had been replaced by the hypocritical morality of plays such as Milman’s Fazio. Nevertheless, Shelley did not believe that the Athenian drama should be slavishly and unimaginatively replicated. Writing to Medwin, he said, ’ ”Prometheus Unbound” is in the merest spirit of ideal Poetry, and not, as the name would indicate, a mere imitation of the Greek drama, or indeed if I have been successful, is it an imitation of anything’.111 Schlegel, too, believed that poetry, ’the fervid expression of our whole being, must assume new and peculiar forms in different ages’ but believed that Greek tragedy was ’beyond the comprehension of the multitude’. Shelley, however, found ways of making it understood by adapting it to the new age. He did not attempt to revive Greek drama in its original form in the nineteenth century but to emulate its spirit: ’the plant must spring again from its seed’.112 Prometheus Unbound, Hellas and Swellfoot the Tyrant, have their seed in Aeschylus and Aristophanes but differ in that they take account of the way in which theatre had developed. Shelley weaves into the Greek fabric elements of the stage and performance techniques of his own time: the arts of opera and ballet are incorporated to compose the ’many-sided mirror’ and even the street theatre of Punch or the folkdance of the tarantella. He was therefore attempting something entirely new, but which connected to the Greek dramatists of the great age of Athens who did not ’adhere to the common interpretation’ of a story. His own versions were given with the same intention, to accord with modern needs.113

  • 114 Schlegel, pp. 494, 342, 488.
  • 115 PBSLII, pp. 17, 4, 115, 105.

54Shelley considered Greek drama only equalled by Shakespeare and Pedro Calderón de la Barca. Schlegel had described Calderón as ’a poet if ever any man deserved that name’; he and Shakespeare were ’the only two poets who are entitled to be called great’; his wish was for English writers to emulate Shakespeare.114 In May 1818, Shelley lent his copy of Schlegel to the cultivated and multilingual Gisbornes, perhaps to allow them to see the discussion of Calderón. In April 1818, Italian was still ’half-intelligible’ to him, but by July 1819, with the help of Maria Gisborne, Shelley had also learnt Spanish. He called Calderón ’a kind of Shakespeare’ and was to read at least 12 of Calderón’s plays and translate part of El Magico Prodigioso.115

  • 116 Schlegel, pp. 30, 31, 36-38.
  • 117 SPII, pp. 733-734.
  • 118 Schlegel, p. 30; Michael O’Neill, ’Emulating Plato: Shelley as Translator and Prose Poet’ in The U (...)

55The emphasis of Schlegel’s lectures is on performance. He discusses the importance of ’action’ and believes that ’visible representation is essential to the very form of the drama’. He suggests that an actor must ’assume [the] entire personality’ of ’his fictitious original’ and considers how far a drama is ’poetical, and how far it is theatrical’, a distinction of category not degree. To become theatrical, the dramatist should ’transport his hearers out of themselves’, ’rivet their attention, and […] excite their interest and sympathy,’ avoiding ’whatever exceeds the ordinary measure of patience and comprehension.’ This is done by using a ’strongly-marked rhythm […] perceptible in the onward progress of the action’, ’the effect of contrasts’ from ’calm repose’ to ’tumultuous emotions’.116 Since performance is the test of whether a drama is successful or not, Schlegel’s definition allows a considerable freedom in the interpretation of the term ’drama’, which does not exclude a ’lyrical drama’ such as Prometheus Unbound. Shelley found ways of introducing scenes which were ’riveting’ or ’transporting’ in all his dramas and appears to have borne this definition in mind while writing The Cenci.117 Like Schlegel, who saw the dramatic elements in Plato’s dialogues, Shelley thought the Symposium almost entitled to be called a drama ’from the lively distinction of the characters & the various & well wrought circumstances of the story’; from this it is clear that Shelley wished to write distinctive characters and a wellwrought plot.118 It seems probable that Shelley was sufficiently influenced by Schlegel’s lectures to consider the importance and effectiveness of drama as a moral and political tool. In 1818, he researched and sketched scenes for Tasso and began Prometheus Unbound.

Shelley’s writing on politics and drama

56On 9 November 1818, Shelley wrote to Peacock that if material works of art perish:

  • 119 PBSLII, p. 53.

They survive in the mind of man, & the remembrances connected with them are transmitted from generation to generation. The poet embodies them in his creation, […] men become better & wiser, and the unseen seeds are perhaps thus sown which shall produce a plant more excellent even [than] that from which they fell.119

  • 120 Ibid., p. 71.
  • 121 SPII, p. 734.

57The similarity of these words to phrases appearing in A Defence of Poetry, written in 1821, suggests a continuity of thought. In January 1819, he told Peacock he considered ’poetry very subordinate to moral & political science’ and desired to write a political work.120 In November 1819, he commenced A Philosophical View of Reform which discussed ways of resisting the government in England which feared and repressed the demands for reform as revolutionary, but meanwhile he had completed both Prometheus Unbound and The Cenci. This suggests the importance of the political ideas in the two dramas, both of which discuss resistance to tyranny but with the protagonists taking different approaches. This close connection between the political writing and the dramatic suggests that Shelley believed that ideas of resistance to tyranny can be discussed metaphorically in a play, thus avoiding censorship, and be communicated to a mass audience able to react together and discuss the ideas after the performance. In the Preface to The Cenci he describes himself as ’one newly […] awakened’ to the drama,121 which was, in part, through his reading of Schlegel. It is clear from A Defence of Poetry that Shelley, like the Greeks, considered drama to be a highly important poetic form:

  • 122 SPP, p. 520.

The drama, so long as it continues to express poetry, is as a prismatic and many-sided mirror, which collects the brightest rays of human nature and divides and reproduces them from the simplicity of these elementary forms, and touches them with majesty and beauty, and multiplies all that it reflects, and endows it with the power of propagating its like wherever it may fall.122

  • 123 Ibid., p. 518.

58The ’prismatic and many-sided mirror’ is also a good description of drama which incorporates ’language, action, music, painting, the dance, and religious institutions’ and shows Shelley’s awareness of the impact of combining these into a three-dimensional art form.123

Shelley’s reading of drama

  • 124 MWSJ: for Aeschylus see pp. 631-632, for Euripides see p. 646, for Greek tragedians see p. 651, fo (...)
  • 125 MWSJ, pp. 296-297; PBSLII, p. 475; OSA, pp. 731-748, 748-762.
  • 126 MWSJ: for Beaumont and Fletcher see pp. 635-636, for Jonson see p. 656, for Shakespeare see pp. 67 (...)
  • 127 MWSJ, p. 370; SCX, p. 728.

59Shelley’s continued interest in drama is also indicated by his reading. In Greek he frequently read Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, and in 1818 he also read Aristophanes.124 He read and translated Calderón and Goethe.125 It would be surprising if Shelley had not read the complete works of Shakespeare and Jonson and the whole of the Beaumont and Fletcher canon, since these names appear in Mary Shelley’s journal each year from 1817-1821, many titles more than once.126 In 1821, ’Old Plays’ is often noted, almost certainly Ancient English Drama, Scott’s edition of Dodsley’s Select Collection of Old Plays (1744). Shelley may have read Dodsley before leaving England, but by 1821 he was familiar with the work of the great playwrights of the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods and owned a 1605 copy of John Marston’s The Dutch Courtesan.127

  • 128 Wolfe, II, p. 315; MWSJ, pp. 175-179.
  • 129 PBSLII, p. 34.
  • 130 OSA, p. 410; MWSJ, p. 377; Wolfe, II, p. 188.
  • 131 Gisborne & Williams, p. 131; OSA, p. 482.

60Peacock remembered Shelley’s skill when reading Shakespeare aloud in 1817 at Marlow. He not only read Othello and Antony and Cleopatra, but also Beaumont and Fletcher’s The Faithful Shepherdess and Jonson’s The Alchemist and Volpone,128 continuing the practice with these authors in Italy. It is clear from his reference to ’that one lovely scene to which you added so much grace in reading to me’ in The Two Noble Kinsmen, that Mary Shelley also read aloud.129 Playreading was more than a pastime, as the Shelleys learnt from it practical theatrical techniques. Rehearsal periods in the professional theatre begin with the cast reading the play aloud in order to discover weaknesses and strengths and to estimate its length. In the Georgian theatre, a new play was given a reading by the actors. It may be assumed that Shelley read his own plays to his circle, as he did his Ode to Liberty and as Edward Williams read his play, The Promise.130 Performance was also considered, first Othello, then Shelley’s Fragments of an Unfinished Drama (1822).131

  • 132 BLJIX, pp. 37, 35.

61Despite Byron’s opinion of himself as ’a good actor’ and his position on the Board of Drury Lane,132 he claimed that:

  • 133 BLJVIII, pp. 186-187.

My dramatic Simplicity is studiously Greek – & must continue so – no reform ever succeeded at first. – I admire the old English dramatists – but this is quite another field – & has nothing to do with theirs. – I want to make a regular English drama, no matter whether for the Stage or not – which is not my object – but a mental theatre.133

62The correspondence of Shelley and Byron on their plays The Cenci and Marino Faliero shows their disagreement about the drama. Byron said:

  • 134 PBSLII, p. 284n.

I read Cenci – but, besides that I think the subject essentially undramatic, I am not an admirer of our old dramatists as models. I deny that the English have hitherto had a drama at all. Your Cenci, however, was a work of power, and poetry. As to my drama, pray revenge yourself upon it, by being as free as I have been with yours.134

  • 135 Ibid., pp. 345, 349; SPII, p. 734.

63Shelley did, saying to Hunt, ’Certainly, if ”Marino Faliero” is a drama, the ”Cenci” is not’. In the preface to The Cenci, he states that ’The ancient English poets […] might incite us to do that for our own age which they have done for theirs’. When these remarks are combined with his critique of Byron’s drama in the letter to Horace Smith, they suggest that, despite Shelley’s admiration for Byron, he not only differed from him on the question of the drama but was proud of doing so.135

  • 136 Wolfe, II, p. 198.

64The subject was further discussed with their friends, Williams and Trelawny, in Pisa when both poets resided there (1821-1822). Trelawny remembered Shelley saying ’I am now writing a play for the stage. It is affectation to say we write a play for any other purpose.’136 This quotation appears reliable in the light of the disagreement on the drama between the poets. Williams recorded:

  • 137 Gisborne & Williams, p. 123.

Mary read to us the two first acts of Lord B’s ”Werner” – (the name he has given to the drama that he told me he had commenced on Decr 21st. The tale is a most interesting one, but I do not think he has treated it so well as might have been expected for the subject. The scenes are all too long and the action seems rather to be repressed than brought forward. For representation, however, a greater part of the second act may safely and judiciously be cut out, and, contrary to all expectation, it will probably have gre[ater] success on the stage than in the closet.137

  • 138 Davies, ’Playwrights and Plays’ in The Revels, p. 195; Gisborne & Williams, p. 123.

65Williams’s remarks show him to have had a practical sense of the stage since Werner was greatly cut and altered when Macready performed it in the 1830s. He gives more praise to the play Shelley was working on, Charles the First, which he compares to Shakespeare.138 The comparison suggests Williams believed that Shelley was writing for the stage; he makes no reference to the closet in connection with Charles the First.

66Despite the remarks of Peacock and Medwin and those who followed them in believing that Shelley did not appreciate theatre, the facts show that Shelley had seen the foremost artists of his age in drama, ballet and opera, not only in England but also in Italy. Shelley had sufficient familiarity with the theatre to enable him to make critical judgments of performances and had the knowledge to construct a play bearing in mind what an actor requires in developing character and in terms of vocal and physical demands, the interaction of characters, dialogue, suspense, unexpected events and dramatic irony. He was able to construct a stage picture, suggest scenic and lighting effects and see where music would add to the atmosphere, if a dance or song would be appropriate or humour effective. He was not connected to the theatre professionally, but playwrights do not come solely from within the profession, and Shelley had developed a taste in the theatre and a theory of drama distinct from that of Byron or Peacock, one which he could use in the creation of his own plays. Shortly after his arrival in Italy in 1818, he set about this. He planned, researched and started to write a drama based on the life of Tasso.

Tasso

  • 139 PBSLII, p. 8; MWSJ, pp. 203, 209; G.M. Matthews, ’A New Text of Shelley’s Scene for Tasso’, KSMB X (...)
  • 140 PBSLII, pp. 47-48; SPII, pp. 366, 445-447.

67Shelley had intended in April 1818 to ’devote[d] this summer & indeed the next year to the composition of a tragedy on the subject of Tasso’s madness, which […] is, if properly treated, admirably dramatic & poetical’. His comparison of his proposed tragedy to the popular verse dramas, Bertram (Drury Lane, 1816) and Fazio (Covent Garden, 1818) shows his ambition for performance on the London stage, and the style of the completed scene supports this. In preparation, he read Tasso’s work in July 1818 and two biographies, and dedicated a notebook to the purpose.139 He never completed the play despite later visiting Tasso’s dungeon in Ferrara, where he saw his manuscripts, and writing a song which would have been suitable for inclusion as a dramatisation of Tasso’s poetic ability and love for Leonora.140 He may have still been intending to finish the play at this stage. He had made notes for scenes and characters, such as ’the malvaggio [the wicked one] and ’Laura the poetess’. This thoroughness of research as a basis for a play was to be replicated when he turned to Charles the First.

  • 141 SPII, p. 366.

68The first scene for Tasso is very short, but may not have been intended to be much longer since it is an efficient exposition as it stands. Two other scenes were planned but not written although they contain dramatic potential and would arouse the curiosity of a theatre audience. Both play on disguise and revelation. In the first, the ’scene where he reads the sonnet which he wrote to Leonora to herself as composed at the request of another’, it is Tasso’s love which is disguised and may be revealed. The possibilities are that she may acknowledge or guess it, remain in ignorance (as in Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac), pretend ignorance, or confess her own love. In the second sketch, ’His disguising himself in the habit of a shepherd & questioning his sister in that disguise concerning himself & then unveiling himself’,141 Tasso is literally disguised, in potential danger of betrayal, and there is an actual and presumably emotional revelation.

69From the first 15 lines of ’Scen 1’, we know that the Duke should see Pigna on state business but has cancelled the appointment and that Malpiglio, whose poetry is bad and mocked by Leonora, has bribed Albano, who shows his contempt for the petitioners by repeating, perhaps inventing, the Duke’s remarks. Albano’s subsequent unfinished speech cannot be judged from Geoffrey Matthews’s two versions but his description introduces the appearance and character of Tasso, whose ’eyes/inwardly burn’d like fire’ (34-35) and of the Duke, bored by Pigna and embarrassed by Maddalo (45-48). A relationship between Tasso and Leonora is implied in the description of her hidden face, and hands ’clasped, veinèd, and pale as snow/And quivering’, followed by the mention of ’young Tasso’ (25- 27). In performance, such descriptions build anticipation for a sight of the characters, and would probably have been followed by the scene in which Tasso reads his sonnet. In the theatre, the first scene would have been easy to set up with stock scenery for an anteroom, and the wings would have been drawn back to reveal a grand Ducal apartment for the second scene. Shelley handles the dialogue between four characters well and does not labour his exposition. As early as 1818, therefore, it seems that he had grasped these essentials of the craft of playwriting, and also that he had given consideration to the staging.

  • 142 PBSLII, p. 47; BSMIX, p. lxii.
  • 143 Stuart Curran, Shelley’s Annus Mirabilis: The Maturing of an Epic Vision (San Marino: Huntington L (...)
  • 144 PBSLII, p. 96.

70It is puzzling that Shelley, having commenced Tasso so promisingly, discarded it. One answer may lie in Shelley’s remark to Peacock that Tasso’s ’sonnets to his persecutor […] contained a great deal of what is alled flattery’. He was sympathetic to Tasso’s situation, which was ’widely different from that of any persecuted being of the present day, for from the depth of dungeons public opinion might now at length be awakened to an echo that would startle the oppressor’ but a play with a hero who flattered his oppressor could never be a vehicle for Shelley’s views on politics and morality. Another related reason might be that, as Neil Fraistat believes, he was already interested in writing about a hero who did defy his oppressor – Prometheus – from March 1818.142 Curran suggests that he had begun research on the themes as early as 1817. His creative impulse to write this may well have been stimulated by seeing the ballets of Viganò in April 1818.143 If this were the case, ideas for Prometheus Unbound may have so interrupted work on Tasso that in September 1818 he gave into them and allowed himself to begin Prometheus Unbound. However, the style of this ’ideal’ drama owed much to the plays of classical Greece, which were not at that time performed in London theatres. A more popular form would have to be selected for a first London success and so Shelley carried out his intention of writing for the London theatre instead with The Cenci. Like Tasso, it is set in Renaissance Italy and, like Tasso, its central characters belong to the all-powerful nobility. Beatrice Cenci was not an ideal but a ’sad reality’ whose situation had parallels with Tasso’s, but she defied rather than flattered her oppressors.144

Notes

1 Wolfe, II, p. 330; Medwin, Life, I, p. 52.

2 Judith Pascoe, ’Proserpine and Midas’ in The Cambridge Companion to Mary Shelley, ed. by Esther Schor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), p. 181.

3 Baer, Theatre and Disorder, p. 120.

4 Mary Shelley, ’Note on The Cenci’, OSA, p. 336.

5 Cameron, The Golden Years, pp. 394-395; Curran, Cenci, p. 158; Cox, ’The Dramatist’, p. 83n; Donohue, Dramatic Character, p. 169.

6 SCII, p. 509-520, for theatre, p. 514; PBSLI, p. 2; Kelly, Reminiscences, pp. 310-311, 265, 275.

7 Horsham Museum MS 333 X.2001.333.1.

8 Ibid. MS 333 X.2001.333.5.

9 Ibid. MS 333 X.2001.333.6.

10 Playbill in exhibition at Horsham Museum.

11 Horsham Museum MS 333 X.2001.333.8; Horsham Museum MS 333 X.2001.333.11.

12 Ibid., MS 333 X.2001.333.7.

13 Ibid., MS 333 X.2001.333.2.

14 Nicoll, p. 238.

15 Rosenfeld, Temples of Thespis, p. 19.

16 Wolfe, II, p. 330; Roger Ingpen, Shelley in England (London: Kegan, Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1917), p. 458 [Jonas and Penley – Windsor, Henley, Folkstone, Peckham, Rye], Authentic Memoirs of the Green Room (London: J. Roach, [1815?]), p. 256; William C. Bebbington, ’Shelley and the Windsor Stage’, Notes and Queries, n.s. 2 (May 1956), 213-216, p. 215.

17 Wolfe, I, pp. 25, 28, 23.

18 Ibid., p. 41.

19 Edward Dowden, The Life of Percy Bysshe Shelley (London: Kegan Paul, 1908), pp. 12-13.

20 Michael Meredith, Five Hundred Years of Eton Theatre (Eton College, 2001), p. 10.

21 Wolfe, II, pp. 23-24.

22 PBSLI, pp. 14, 16; Wolfe, I, p. 26.

23 Eluned Brown, ed., The London Theatre 1811-1866 Selections from the Diary of Henry Crabb Robinson (London: The Society for Theatre Research, 1966), p. 48.

24 The Times, 3 May 1810.

25 Boaden, Mrs, Siddons, II, p. 354.

26 John Genest, Some Account of the English Stage, 10 vols (Bath: H.E. Carrington, 1832), VIII, p. 163.

27 Hunt, Critical Essays, p. 99.

28 SCII, pp. 514, 577; The Times, 26 April 1810, 27 April 1810; PBSLI, p. 149.

29 Boaden, Mrs. Siddons, II, p. 159.

30 Hunt, Critical Essays, p. 20.

31 The Times, 27 April 1810; SCII, p. 577.

32 Drury Lane opened with an oratorio since it was Lent (12 March 1794), Kelly, Reminiscences, pp. 207, 311.

33 The Times, 3 May 1810; SCII, p. 577.

34 The Clairmont Correspondence, ed. by Marion Kingston Stocking (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995), p. 29.

35 MWSLI, p. 33.

36 PBSLII, p. 71.

37 MWSJ, p. 35.

38 Donohue, Dramatic Character, pp. 169,168; PBSLI, pp. 316, 342.

39 Hazlitt, III, p. 17; ’D – G –’ [George Daniel] ’Remarks’ Hamlet: A Tragedy In Five Acts by William Shakespeare (London: John Cumberland, [n.d.]), p. 12; Crabb Robinson, p. 90.

40 ’Theatrical Courier’, qtd in CCJ, p. 50.

41 Donohue, Dramatic Character, p. 169.

42 Donohue, Theatre in the Age of Kean, p. 150.

43 Wolfe, II, p. 330; MWSJ, p. 193.

44 MWSJ, pp. 193, 161.

45 Ibid., pp. 195.

46 Ibid., pp. 166, 171.

47 CCJ, p. 82; Wolfe, II, p. 330.

48 MWSJ, pp. 170, 192; PBSLI, p. 77; PBSLII, p. 382.

49 Hunt, Critical Essays, p. v.; Colin Visser, ’Scenery and Theatrical Design’, p. 99; Reviews of 1816, 1820 and 1831, Hunt’s Dramatic Criticism, pp. 138, 231, 288.

50 PBSLII, p. 69; MWSLI, pp. 445, 450.

51 MWSJ, p. 163; Hazlitt, III, pp. 9, 155; MWSJ, pp. 164-165.

52 Wolfe, II, p. 330.

53 SCII, pp. 517, 577; The Times, 18 April 1809, 3 May 1810.

54 PBSLII, pp. 330-331; for the popularity of telling tall stories or ’bamming’ among Shelley and his contemporaries, please see Nora Crook and Derek Guiton, Shelley’s Venomed Melody (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), pp. 11-12.

55 Doris Langley Moore, Lord Byron – Accounts Rendered (London: John Murray, 1974), p. 260.

56 Wolfe, II, p. 330.

57 Rosenfeld, Georgian Scene Painters, p. 25.

58 Wolfe, II, p. 330.

59 For visits, see MWSJ, p. 196; CCJ, p. 85; for reviews, see Hazlitt, III, p. 205; Smith, Italian Opera, pp. 103, 142-145; for information on performances in Italy, see dell’Ira, I teatri di Pisa, p. 14; .

60 Guest, Romantic Ballet in England, pp. 30-31; PBSLII, p. 4.

61 Michael R. Booth, ’Public Taste, the Playwright and the Law’ in The Revels, p. 30.

62 MWSJ: for Fazio see pp. 193, 196, 662, for Bertram and Manuel see pp. 131, 166, for Rosmunda see p. 632, PBSLII, pp. 8, 349.

63 SPII, p. 720; Carlson, In the Theatre of Romanticism, p. 193.

64 Tidworth, Theatres, p. 86; MWSJ, p. 202, 202n.; CCJ, p. 89.

65 Maria Grazia Amidei, Il Teatro Goldoni di Venezia (Università degli Studi di Urbino, Anno Accademico, 1969-1970), p. 150; Lucia Zambelli and Francesco Tei, A teatro con i Lorena: feste, personaggi e luoghi scenici della Firenze granducale (Firenze: Edizioni medicea, 1987), pp. 84-88.

66 John Rosselli, Music and Musicians in Nineteenth-Century Italy (London: Batsford, 1991), p. 57; Tidworth, Theatres, pp. 65-67; Bergman, Lighting in the Theatre, p. 208.

67 Ferrero, ’Staging Rossini’, pp. 204-206; Colin Visser, ’Scenery and Technical Design’, p. 83.

68 Rosselli, The Opera Industry, p. 34.

69 Rosselli, Music and Musicians, pp. 21, 54-57,60-61; Rosselli, The Opera Industry, p. 43; MSWJ, pp. 203, 205; Morgan, Italy, I, p. 159

70 Maria Grazia Amidei, Il Teatro Goldoni di Venezia, pp. 149-150.

71 Nicola Mangini, I teatri di Venezia (Milano: Mursia, 1974), pp. 86-89.

72 Lo spettacolo maraviglioso: il Teatro della Pergola, l’opera a Firenze, catalogo a cura di Marcello De Angelis (Firenze: Pagliai Polistampa, 2000), p. 197.

73 MWSJ, p. 230.

74 BLJVI, p. 18.

75 David Kimbell, Italian Opera (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), p. 458.

76 La Gazzetta Privilegiata di Venezia, N. 224, 8 October 1818.

77 Luigi Rasi, I comici italiani, 2 vols (Firenze: Fratelli Bocca, 1905), I, pp. 853-854; II, p. 265; La Gazzetta Privilegiata di Venezia, N. 229-237, 13-22 October 1818; MWSJ, p. 233; Gisborne & Williams, p. 127.

78 Morgan, Italy, II, pp. 443-444.

79 Rosselli, Music and Musicians, p. 50; Rosselli, The Opera Industry, p. 62; MWSJ, p. 238.

80 Rosselli, Music and Musicians, p. 57; Bergman, Lighting in the Theatre, p. 209; Stendhal, Correspondance (1816-1820) (Paris: le Divan, 1934), pp. 300, 331; PBSLII, p. 69.

81 Guest, Romantic Ballet in Paris, p. 162.

82 Zambelli and Tei, A teatro con i Lorena, pp. 84, 87.

83 MWSJ, p. 298.

84 Archivio Storico La Fenice <http://www.archiviostoricolafenice.org:49542/ArcFenice/> [accessed 9 December 2010]; Stendhal, Correspondance, pp. 300, 331.

85 MWSJ, p. 304, 304n.

86 Information from Professor Marcello de Angelis, Dipartimento di Storia delle Arti e dello Spettacolo, Università degli Studi di Firenze, email 26 June 2006. See Appendix I.

87 CCJ, pp. 132-133.

88 MWSJ, p. 359, 359n.; dell’Ira, I teatri di Pisa, pp. 38, 39.

89 Ibid., pp. 343, 349-350; Gisborne & Williams, p. 135.

90 Ibid., p. 199; for Hunt’s familiarity, see Hunt’s Dramatic Criticism, p. 296; for Godwin’s, see Michael Scrivener, Radical Shelley (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982), p. 248; for Hazlitt’s, see Hazlitt, I, pp. 271-306.

91 Schlegel, p. 41.

92 SPP, p. 521.

93 Schlegel, p. 120; MWSJ, p. 246; SPP, p. 517.

94 Schlegel, p. 34; SPP, pp. 520, 518.

95 SPP, pp. 518, 525; ’On the Manners of the Ancient Greeks’ in Shelley’s Prose, or, The Trumpet of a Prophecy, ed. by David Lee Clark (London: Fourth Estate, 1988), p.220; Scrivener, Radical Shelley, p. 248; Schlegel, p. 156.

96 PBSLI, pp. 342, 271; PBSLII, p. 360.

97 PBSLII, p. 53; MWSJ: for Aeschylus see pp. 631-632, for Euripides see p. 646, for Sophocles see pp. 676-677.

98 PBSLII, p. 364; SPP, p. 513.

99 Hall & Macintosh, Greek Tragedy, pp. 222-226, 245-256 (schools), 197-199 (chorus), 184, 187n.; William Mason, Caractacus, a Dramatic Poem… Altered for Theatrical Representation (London: [n. pub.], 1777); Wyndham, Covent Garden, I, p.211-212.

100 BLJVIII, p. 57.

101 Schlegel, p. 237; SPP, p. 518, 520.

102 Ibid., pp. 476-479, 483-484.

103 SPP, p. 520.

104 PBSLII, p. 349.

105 Ibid., p. 317.

106 BLJVIII, p. 57; BLJV, p. 86; BLJIX, p. 26.

107 Schlegel, pp. 53-54, 53n.

108 PBSLII, p. 71.

109 Ibid., p. 74; Baldassare Conticello, Pompeii Archaeological Guide ([n.p.]: Officine Grafiche De Agostini, 1989), p. 80.

110 SPP, p. 518.

111 Ibid., p. 518; PBSLII, p. 219.

112 Schlegel, pp. 50, 528; SPP, p. 514.

113 Preface to Prometheus Unbound in SPII, p. 472.

114 Schlegel, pp. 494, 342, 488.

115 PBSLII, pp. 17, 4, 115, 105.

116 Schlegel, pp. 30, 31, 36-38.

117 SPII, pp. 733-734.

118 Schlegel, p. 30; Michael O’Neill, ’Emulating Plato: Shelley as Translator and Prose Poet’ in The Unfamiliar Shelley, ed. by Alan M. Weinberg and Timothy Webb (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009), p. 247.

119 PBSLII, p. 53.

120 Ibid., p. 71.

121 SPII, p. 734.

122 SPP, p. 520.

123 Ibid., p. 518.

124 MWSJ: for Aeschylus see pp. 631-632, for Euripides see p. 646, for Greek tragedians see p. 651, for Sophocles see pp. 676-677, for Aristophanes see p. 633.

125 MWSJ, pp. 296-297; PBSLII, p. 475; OSA, pp. 731-748, 748-762.

126 MWSJ: for Beaumont and Fletcher see pp. 635-636, for Jonson see p. 656, for Shakespeare see pp. 673-674.

127 MWSJ, p. 370; SCX, p. 728.

128 Wolfe, II, p. 315; MWSJ, pp. 175-179.

129 PBSLII, p. 34.

130 OSA, p. 410; MWSJ, p. 377; Wolfe, II, p. 188.

131 Gisborne & Williams, p. 131; OSA, p. 482.

132 BLJIX, pp. 37, 35.

133 BLJVIII, pp. 186-187.

134 PBSLII, p. 284n.

135 Ibid., pp. 345, 349; SPII, p. 734.

136 Wolfe, II, p. 198.

137 Gisborne & Williams, p. 123.

138 Davies, ’Playwrights and Plays’ in The Revels, p. 195; Gisborne & Williams, p. 123.

139 PBSLII, p. 8; MWSJ, pp. 203, 209; G.M. Matthews, ’A New Text of Shelley’s Scene for Tasso’, KSMB XI, 39-47.

140 PBSLII, pp. 47-48; SPII, pp. 366, 445-447.

141 SPII, p. 366.

142 PBSLII, p. 47; BSMIX, p. lxii.

143 Stuart Curran, Shelley’s Annus Mirabilis: The Maturing of an Epic Vision (San Marino: Huntington Library, 1975), p. xvii.

144 PBSLII, p. 96.

Table des illustrations

Légende 5. Covent Garden, 1828, unknown artist, from Fanny Kemble by Dorothie de Bear Bobbé, private collection.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/763/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 48k
Légende 6. ’Henry IV Pt I’, engraving by John White from a drawing taken in the theatre by Mr. R. Cruikshank, c. 1824, from Cumberland’s British Theatre, private collection.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/763/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 67k
Légende 7. ’Cut wood with bay and mountains’, watercolour (artist unknown). Set design for ’Winter’s Tale’, undated.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/763/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 48k
Légende 8. ’The School for Scandal’, wood engraving by Mr. Bonner from a drawing taken in the theatre by Mr. R. Cruikshank, c. 1824.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/763/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 113k

Acheter