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John Barrymore, Shakespearean Actor

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Overview

John Barrymore's Richard III and Hamlet, first seen in New York during the 1919-20 and 1922-23 seasons, stand as high-water marks of twentieth-century Shakespearean interpretation. Michael Morrison reconstructs these historic performances through analysis of the production preparation, audience response, reviews, and memoirs. Tracing the Victorian and Edwardian antecedents of Shakespearean performance, this book situates Barrymore's distinctive contribution in light of past and ensuing tradition. As well, it provides a biographical sketch of one of the most revered and tragic actors of the twentieth century. "This young artist, profiting by the lessons of tradition...casts it boldly aside and emerges into the rarefied atmosphere of a new art, greater because it is new, stronger because it is built upon an old foundation." Brooklyn Times, March 9, 1920
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This young artist, profiting by the lessons of tradition...casts it boldly aside and emerges into the rarefied atmosphere of a new art, greater because it is new, stronger because it is built upon an old foundation." Brooklyn Times, March 9, 1920

"Morrison gives a well-researched and detailed look at how Barrymore prepared for, staged and delivered Shakespearean performances that amazed and thrilled critics and theatergoers." Ed Will, Denver Post

"Michael Morrison's most readable study vividly recreates act by act the Shakespearean art of one of America's most charismatic and influential modern stage actors." Margot Peters, author of The House of Barrymore

"Michael Morrison's most readable study vividly recreates act by act the Shakespearean art of one of America's most charismatic and influential modern stage actors." Margot Peters, author of The House of Barrymore

"Morrison gives a well-researched and detailed look at how Barrymore prepared for, staged and delivered Shakespearean performances that amazed and thrilled critics and theatergoers." Ed Will, Denver Post

"Michael A. Morrison, a theatre historian and collector of theatrical memorabilia, attempts to put the record straight, and in doing so gives us the best book about a bygone era I have read in many years, immensely detailed, magnificently illustrated and hugely readable, his researches incorporates eye-witness accounts, critical reaction and personal letters." Peter Hepple, The Stage

"Michael A. Morrison, a theatre historian and collector of theatrical memorabilia, attempts to put the record straight, and in doing so gives us the best book about a bygone era I have read in many years, immensely detailed, magnificently illustrated and hugely readable, his researches incorporates eye-witness accounts, critical reaction and personal letters." Peter Hepple, The Stage

"John Barrymore's image is that of a hard-drinking matinee idol and movie star, but as Michael Morrison shows, during the 1920's he was America's and perhaps the world's-greatest Shakespearean actor." Book World

"Morrison's meticulously researched and well-written book takes the reader through the before and after of Barrymore's brief but memorable Shakespearean career and brilliantly re-creates his development as an interpreter of Richard and Hamlet." Mary C. Henderson, Stagebill-The Fox Theater

"...a delightful read.... A perfect gift for anyone who loved Chrisopher Plummer's 'Barrymore'". San Francisco Examiner

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface and acknowledgements; Part I. Setting the Stage: Prologue: Legacies: 1. The education of an actor, 1882–1919; Part II. The Productions: 2. Richard III, 1920; 3. Hamlet, 1922–4; 4. The London Hamlet, 1925; Part III. Aftermath: 5. Shakespeare in Hollywood, 1925–42; Epilogue; Appendix A. The casts; Appendix B. The texts.
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