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Spinning dark intrigue at Covent Garden theatre, 1767–1820

This is the first biography of Thomas Harris (1738-1820). Until now, little has been known about his life. He was most visible as the man who controlled Covent Garden theatre for nearly five decades, one of only two venues in London allowed by law to perform spoken drama. Harris presided over one of the most eventful periods in the history of the English stage; uncovering his involvement provides new perspectives upon landmark events in London’s history. But this career was only one of many: he became the confidant of George III, a philanthropist, sexual suspect, and a brothel owner in the underworld of Covent Garden. While deeply involved in Pitt the younger’s government, Harris worked as a ‘spin doctor’ to control the release of government news. Only through understanding his career is it possible to appreciate fully the suppression of radicalism in the period. As novelists created elaborate storylines with fictional intriguers lurking in the shadows, Harris was the real thing.

Harris’s career intersects many of the hidden worlds of the eighteenth century including the art of theatre and theatre management, the activities of the Secret Service, radical protest, and sexual indulgence. This narrative of detection brings together a hoard of newly discovered manuscripts to construct his numerous lives.

Editor: Peter Redford

The Burley manuscript is a miscellany compiled by William Parkhurst in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century, unique in its size – over six hundred items inscribed on nearly four hundred folios – and its variety: poems and letters, essays and aphorisms, speeches, satires and sententiae, mostly in English but including Latin, Italian, French and Spanish. In this study, annotated transcriptions are given of all of the private letters in English, including those that are translations from those of the fourth-century Roman patrician Q. Aurelius Symmachus, and all the English verse. Incipit transcriptions and identification are provided for each of the other items, including those in foreign languages. The history and provenance of the collection are described in detail, with lengthy notes on memorial transcription of verse and prose, and the clandestine interception of letters. The book makes available, in a readily searchable form, texts, annotations and commentary that will have an impact on a wide range of scholarship. It will not only act as a guide to one of the English Renaissance’s most prized miscellanies, but also be found useful in a wide range of studies, illuminating such diverse subjects as, for example, the circulation of verse, the correspondence of John Donne (particularly with Henry Wotton and Henry Goodere), the self-fashioning of English gentlemen after the classical Romans of their class, and the government’s paranoiac spying on its own citizens. Literary scholars and editors, and social historians, may here draw on a deep well of contemporary writing, not readily available hitherto.

Phebe Gibbes

This novel is a designedly political document. Written at the time of the Hastings impeachment and set in the period of Hastings’s Orientalist government, Hartly House, Calcutta (1789) represents a dramatic delineation of the Anglo-Indian encounter. The novel constitutes a significant intervention in the contemporary debate concerning the nature of Hastings’s rule of India by demonstrating that it was characterised by an atmosphere of intellectual sympathy and racial tolerance. Within a few decades the Evangelical and Anglicising lobbies frequently condemned Brahmans as devious beneficiaries of a parasitic priestcraft, but Phebe Gibbes’s portrayal of Sophia’s Brahman and the religion he espouses represent a perception of India dignified by a sympathetic and tolerant attempt to dispel prejudice.

Drama, reinvention and history, 1647–72

Staging the Revolution offers a reassessment of drama that was produced during the commonwealth and the first decade of the Restoration. It complements the focus of recent studies, which have addressed textual exchange and royalist and republican discourse. Not all parliamentarians were opposed to the theatre, and not all theatre was illegal under the commonwealth regimes. Equally, not all theatrical experience was royalist in focus. Staging the Revolution builds upon these findings to examine ways in which drama negotiated the political moment to explore the way in which drama was appropriated as a means of responding to the civil wars and reinventing the recent past and how drama was also reinvented as a consequence of theatre closure. The often cited notion that 1660 marked the return to monarchical government and the rebirth of many cultural practices that were banned under an austere, Puritan, regime was a product of the 1650s and 1660s and it was fostered in some of the dramatic output of the period. The very presence of these dramas and their textual transmission challenges the notion that all holiday pastimes were forbidden. Covering some of the work of John Dryden and William Davenant as well as lesser-known, anonymous and non-canonical writers, the book examines contemporary dramatic responses to the civil war period to show that, far from marking a new beginning, the Restoration is focused upon the previous thirty years.

The example of Oppression!!! The Appeal of Captain Perry to the People of England (1795)

British mainland. Their alarm was fuelled by the colourful reports of the network of informers who infiltrated organisations such as the LCS, reporting that ‘the minds of the People are constantly kept in a state of fermentation, by the most seditious and treasonable writings, which are read to the different divisions every evening’. 2 Such reports of treason being disseminated were denounced by reformers insisting that ‘there was a time when SPIES and INFORMERS were held infamous in England, and when an honest government disdained to employ such vile instruments of

in Writing and constructing the self in Great Britain in the long eighteenth century
The Child in Time

4 Towards the ‘implicate order’: The Child in Time The Child in Time marks a turning point in McEwan’s career: it was his first fiction to be clearly longer than novella length, and his first sustained attempt at a social novel, in which the private and the public are systematically intertwined. It is categorizable as a ‘Condition of England novel’ in some respects, with its projection of a fourth or fifthterm Thatcherite government becoming increasingly authoritarian;1 yet McEwan produces a unique way of tracing the connections between the personal and the

in Ian McEwan
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The postcolonial city

failure of successive governments (both national and local) to seriously address the complexity of this colonial past on the city that has led to a good many of its social tensions since. In outlining the city’s literary tradition, I shall call upon past research (Pearce, 2007, 2010a and 2010b as well as the ‘Moving Manchester’ Writers’ Gallery: see www.transculturalwriting.com/writersgallery/) to discuss the extent to which the connotations of grime, crime and social deprivation that were attached to the city in the nineteenth century continue to pervade twentieth- and

in Postcolonial Manchester
The battle of The Screens

that all people born in Algeria – Muslims, Europeans, “natives” or “settlers” – were French nationals’ ( 2006b : 151). Since Algeria had effectively been a part of France since 1848, the conflict waged by the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) and Mouvement National Algerién (MNA) for independence was never labelled as a war per se; it was referred to euphemistically, like the revolution of May 1968, as a series of événements , or events which concerned France alone. The already difficult situation facing the French government was further exacerbated by the attitude

in The politics of Jean Genet’s late theatre
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playful meditation upon the emergence of Sri Lanka as a postcolonial nation, Anil’s Ghost charts the descent of this nascent polity into catastrophic and seemingly interminable sectarian conflict. The novel begins with a bleak prefatory note: From the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, Sri Lanka was in a crisis that involved three essential groups: the government, the antigovernment insurgents in the south and the separatist guerrillas in the north. Both the insurgents and the separatists had declared war on the government. Eventually, in

in Michael Ondaatje

classifications that have acquired the status of truth, such as race. Thus, we are told that in 1914, the year of Balaram’s birth, an American judge in San Francisco, arbitrating on the second ever application by a Hindu for citizenship in the United States, took refuge in prehistory and decided that high-caste Hindus were Aryans and therefore free and white. And equally … the colonial government in Canada rewrote a different prehistory when it turned the eight thousand Indians on board Kamagatamaru back from Vancouver, after deciding that the ancient racial purity of Canada

in Amitav Ghosh