Theatre and Fashion: Oscar Wilde to the Suffragettes

Overview

This is the first book to explore the complex relationship among theater, fashion, and society in the late Victorian and early modern eras. Examining such diverse topics as the emergence of the society playhouse, fashion journalism, the role of the couturier-costumier, department store marketing, and the establishment of "dress codes" by militant suffragettes, Kaplan and Stowell provide a new context for assessing plays by established writers such as Oscar Wilde, Bernard Shaw, Arthur Pinero, and Harley Granville ...

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Overview

This is the first book to explore the complex relationship among theater, fashion, and society in the late Victorian and early modern eras. Examining such diverse topics as the emergence of the society playhouse, fashion journalism, the role of the couturier-costumier, department store marketing, and the establishment of "dress codes" by militant suffragettes, Kaplan and Stowell provide a new context for assessing plays by established writers such as Oscar Wilde, Bernard Shaw, Arthur Pinero, and Harley Granville Barker, as well as lesser know figures such as Edith Lyttelton, Emily Symonds, and Cicely Hamilton.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A wonderfully stimulating book...not only for theatre historians, but for anyone interested in the larger questions of cultural production and the fashion industry, feminism and the body. It demonstrates very clearly and with many new insights, the complexity and interrelatedness of theatre and other forms of cultural expression at the fin de siecle." New Theatre Quarterly

"A book whose writing is every bit as good as its scholarship, lucid, stylish, and accessible. Theatre and Fashion is first rate historical scholarship, and its combination of winning subject and fresh approach should attract a wide, appreciative audience." Nineteenth Century Theatre

"What Kaplan and Stowell do in this excellent book is to examine fashionable dress and social life through their influence on, and reaction to, the West End theatre at a time when many would consider they exerted their greatest cultural influence." The (London) Sunday Times

"A fascinating and original slice of theatre history." BBC Radio 2

"A fascinating book." Literary Review

"Theatre and Fashion is first-rate...lucid, stylish, and accessible. Its combination of winning subject and fresh approach should attract a wide, appreciative audience." Nineteenth-Century Theatre

"In this well-illustrated, entertaining, and scholarly study—'the first book to explore the complex relationship between theatre, fashion, and society in the late Victorian and early modern era'—Kaplan and Stowell focus on the intimate relationship between fashion and stage production in the works of many playwrights, including Oscar Wilde, Henry Arthur Jones, Arthur Pinero, and Bernard Shaw...In their illuminating account Kaplan and Stowell include much on theatrical history and personalities that should have a wide appeal. Highly recommended for all academic libraries." K. Beckson, Choice

"Refreshing, fascinating, and readable, Theatre and Fashion is—in its situating of the theatrical performance in the social and cultural values of the time, its documentation of production choices, variant scripts, and critical reception, and its constant affirmation that a drama's meanings are inextricably linked to the explicit and tacit meanings invoked by its first performance—an exemplary work of historical scholarship." Cary M. Mazer, Theatre Survey

"...a contribution not only to the history of drama, but to the history of fashion and the history of the women's movement....This sense of pleasure in learning captures nicely the satisfaction afforded by this admirable book." Bruce Bashford, English Literature in Transition

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521499507
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Pages: 220
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. The glass of fashion; 2. Dressing Mrs. Pat; 3. The ghost in the looking-glass; 4. Millinery stages; 5. The suffrage response; Notes; Works cited; Index.

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