This collection of essays, written by a team of leading scholars in the field, undertakes not simply to recover the names and careers of women playwrights but to call into question the whole idea of what a playwright is, what she does, and why it matters. Gender inquiry is the start: destabilizing the category of playwrights loosens the borders of theater history making it possible to reconceptualize theater and drama not as a product of culture but as social processes dynamically interacting with culture.
"...an exciting contribution to the study of nineteenth-century women theatre-makers.[...] This volume adds further depth and lustre to a field of study already energized by distinguished work by Davis, Donkin, Bratton and many of their contributors." New Theatre Quarterly
List of illustrations; List of contributors; Acknowledgments; Introduction Tracy C. Davis and Ellen Donkin; Part I. In Judgment: 1. The sociable playwright and representative citizen Tracy C. Davis; 2. 'To be public as a genius and private as a woman': the critical framing of nineteenth-century British women playwrights Gay Gibson Cima; 3. Mrs. Gore gives tit-for-tat Ellen Donkin; Part II. Wrighting the Play: 4. Jane Scott the writer/manager Jacky Bratton; 5. Illusions of authorship Jane Moody; 6. Sara Lane: questions of authorship Jim Davis; Part III. Staging the State: Joanna Baillie's 'Constantine Paleologus' Beth H. Freidman-Romell; 8. 'The Lady Playwrights' and 'The Wild Tribes of the East': female dramatists in the East End theatres, 1860–80 Heidi J. Holder; 9. 'From a female pen': the proper lady as playwright in the West End theatre, 1823–44 Katherine Newey; Part IV. Genre Trouble: 10. Genre trouble: Joanna Baillie, Elizabeth Polack - tragic subjects, melodramatic subjects Susan Bennett; 11. Sappho in the closet Denise A. Walen; 12. Conflicted politics and circumspect comedy: women's comic playwriting in the 1890s Susan Carlson; Index.