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Crossing boundaries and negotiating the cultural landscape
Author: Janice Norwood

Victorian touring actresses: Crossing boundaries and negotiating the cultural landscape provides a new perspective on the on- and offstage lives of women working in nineteenth-century theatre, and affirms the central role of touring, both within the United Kingdom and in North America and Australasia. Drawing on extensive archival research, it features a cross-section of neglected performers whose dramatic specialisms range from tragedy to burlesque. Although they were employed as stars in their own time, their contribution to the industry has largely been forgotten. The book’s innovative organisation follows a natural lifecycle, enabling a detailed examination of the practical challenges and opportunities typically encountered by the actress at each stage of her working life. Individual experiences are scrutinised to highlight the career implications of strategies adopted to cope with the demands of the profession, the physical potential of the actress’s body, and the operation of gendered power on and offstage. Analysis is situated in a wide contextual framework and reveals how reception and success depended on the performer’s response to the changing political, economic, social and cultural landscape as well as to developments in professional practice and organisation. The book concludes with discussion of the legacies of the performers, linking their experiences to the present-day situation.

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Author: Rachael Gilmour

At a time when monolingualist claims for the importance of ‘speaking English’ to the national order continue louder than ever, even as language diversity is increasingly part of contemporary British life, literature becomes a space to consider the terms of linguistic belonging. Bad English examines writers including Tom Leonard, James Kelman, Suhayl Saadi, Raman Mundair, Daljit Nagra, Xiaolu Guo, Leila Aboulela, Brian Chikwava, and Caroline Bergvall, who engage multilingually, experimentally, playfully, and ambivalently with English’s power. Considering their invented vernaculars and mixed idioms, their dramatised scenes of languaging – languages learned or lost, acts of translation, scenes of speaking, the exposure and racialised visibility of accent – it argues for a growing field of contemporary literature in Britain pre-eminently concerned with language’s power dynamics, its aesthetic potentialities, and its prosthetic strangeness. Drawing on insights from applied linguistics and translation studies as well as literary scholarship, Bad English explores contemporary arguments about language in Britain – in debates about citizenship or education, in the media or on Twitter, in Home Office policy and asylum legislation – as well as the ways they are taken up in literature. It uncovers both an antagonistic and a productive interplay between language politics and literary form, tracing writers’ articulation of linguistic alienation and ambivalence, as well as the productivity and making-new of radical language practices. Doing so, it refutes the view that language difference and language politics are somehow irrelevant to contemporary Britain and instead argues for their constitutive centrality to the work of novelists and poets whose inside/outside relationship to English in its institutionalised forms is the generative force of their writing.

David Darby

by Austerlitz (or occasionally only by the narrator) and whose appearance – and often disappearance – is described in metaphors based explicitly on photographic processes and technologies. Just as Sebald is interested in ‘the non-static, ontological moments of photography’ (Patt 2007: 72), so too he focuses on the experience of moments at which memories both become and recede.2 Most prominent among the places where these momentary images are revealed are the book’s four major railway stations. It is in Sebald’s metaphoric darkrooms, dark zones of transition between

in A literature of restitution
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Editor: Gregory Vargo

The first collection of its kind, Chartist Drama makes available four plays written or performed by members of the Chartist movement of the 1840s. Emerging from the lively counter-culture of this protest campaign for democratic rights, these plays challenged cultural as well as political hierarchies by adapting such recognisable genres as melodrama, history plays, and tragedy for performance in radically new settings. A communal, public, and embodied art form, drama was linked for the Chartists with other kinds of political performance: the oratory of the mass platform, festival-like outdoor meetings, and the elaborate street theatre of protest marches. Plays that Chartists wrote or staged advanced new interpretations of British history and criticised aspects of the contemporary world. And Chartist drama intervened in fierce strategic arguments within the movement. Most notably, poet-activist John Watkins’s John Frost, which dramatises the gripping events of the Newport rising of 1839, in which twenty-two Chartists lost their lives, defends the rebellion and the Chartist recourse to violence as a means for the movement to achieve its aims. The volume’s appendices document over one hundred Chartist dramatic performances, staged by activists in local Chartist associations or at professional benefits at some of London’s largest working-class theatres. Gregory Vargo’s introduction and notes elucidate the previously unexplored world of Chartist dramatic culture, a context that promises to reshape what we know about early Victorian popular politics and theatre.

Rethinking verbatim dramaturgies

Responding to the resurgence of verbatim theatre that emerged in Britain, Australia, the United States and other parts of the world in the early 1990s, this book offers one of the first sustained, critical engagements with contemporary verbatim, documentary and testimonial dramaturgies. Offering a new reading of the history of the documentary and verbatim theatre form, the book relocates verbatim and testimonial theatre away from discourses of the real and representations of reality and instead argues that these dramaturgical approaches are better understood as engagements with forms of truth-telling and witnessing. Examining a range of verbatim and testimonial plays from different parts of the world, the book develops new ways of understanding the performance of testimony and considers how dramaturgical theatre can bear witness to real events and individual and communal injustice through the re-enactment of personal testimony. Through its interrogation of different dramaturgical engagements with acts of witnessing, the book identifies certain forms of testimonial theatre that move beyond psychoanalytical accounts of trauma and reimagine testimony and witnessing as part of a decolonised project that looks beyond event-based trauma, addressing instead the experience of suffering wrought by racism and other forms of social injustice.

Anshuman A. Mondal

exhume this hidden rationale of colonial governance: Secunderabad, we are told, is a railway hub and a garrison town, and key episodes take place in or around railway stations. Ghosh’s work suggests that tragically the legacy of colonial governmentality continues in the rationale of the post-colonial state. It is therefore no coincidence that his critique of colonial and post-colonial governmentality focuses on elusive identities, or moments when identity becomes a problem for the state. The narrator of In an Antique Land discovers that his identity is suspect in the

in Amitav Ghosh
Trembling rocks in sensation fiction and empire Gothic
Shelley Trower

Railways (1851), and at one of his early novels, Basil (1852). Like the folklore collections by Robert Hunt and William Bottrell, discussed in the previous chapter , these texts illustrate Collins’s interest in Cornwall as both part of England but also a remote and distinctive, even somewhat foreign region, with its ‘primitive’ people and sublime rock formations, along with its mines and other

in Rocks of nation
Diana Cullell

chance encounters quickly gain significance. At the end of the composition, which can be read as a soliloquy, life is presented as on a par with a railway station, powerfully characterising the moment – and the poem itself – as just a link in a chain, a transient moment or a sort of work in progress (an idea underlined also in the title of the book, an errata sheet) and under constant revision. The poem 156 Cullell_ContempPoetry_02_Poems.indd 156 28/04/2014 17:24 perfectly exemplifies the realism and intimate tone favoured by part of the most recent poetry of Spain

in Spanish contemporary poetry
Gavin Edwards

palpable in the opening paragraph of David Copperfield (1849–50): WHETHER I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve o'clock at night. It was remarked that the clock began to strike, and I began to cry, simultaneously. 6 When David says he will ‘begin my life with the beginning of my life’ the reader must work out what the difference is between

in The Case of the Initial Letter
Savage vibrations in ghost stories and D. H. Lawrence’s Kangaroo
Shelley Trower

eardrum and awake sympathetic resonance in the house. After seeing the picture-like view from the railway carriage, the two travellers arrive at the station and make their way by road to the house, where sound begins to take on its important role, as they hear ‘the eternal voice of the Cornish coast; the endlessly recurring thud and surge of the waves against the cliffs of Trevarthen’. 24 At night the sound of

in Rocks of nation