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The fortunes of King Lear in London between 1681 and 1838: A chronological account of its adaptors, actors and editors, and of the links between them

Hicks, Penelope Rose; (1998) The fortunes of King Lear in London between 1681 and 1838: A chronological account of its adaptors, actors and editors, and of the links between them. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis examines three interwoven strands in the dramatic and editorial history of King Lear between 1681 and 1838. One strand is the history of the adaptations which held the London stage during these years; the second is the changing styles of acting over the same period; the third is the work of the editors as they attempted to establish the Shakespearean text. This triple focus enables me to explore the paradoxical dominance of the adaptations at a time which saw both the text being edited for the first time and the rise of bardolatry. The three aspects of the fortunes of King Lear are linked in a number of ways, and I trace these connections as the editors, adaptors and actors concentrated on their own separate concerns. The thesis evolves chronologically. The arrival of the adaptations is discussed, each adaptation is examined, and the major revisions are noted as the adaptors shifted backwards and forwards towards a gradual return to Shakespeare's text and the final abandonment of the adaptations. The major productions of King Lear are explored, and I have included criticisms of the changing styles of acting among the players who were important in a King Lear role. The pioneering work of the editors and their growing confidence is studied and representative examples of their glosses and notes are offered. My final chapter draws together the links between the adaptors, actors and editors. It explores why Shakespeare, at a time when his reputation was in the ascendancy and whose plays were at the centre of developing skills in editing, nonetheless had many of these plays, represented in this thesis by King Lear, staged only in adaptation. I offer explanations for the initial interest in adaptations, why the audiences remained faithful to them and why they were finally abandoned.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: The fortunes of King Lear in London between 1681 and 1838: A chronological account of its adaptors, actors and editors, and of the links between them
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Communication and the arts; King Lear
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10119525
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