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Thomas Betterton : The Greatest Actor of the Restoration Stage - David Roberts

Thomas Betterton

The Greatest Actor of the Restoration Stage

Hardcover Published: 17th June 2010
ISBN: 9780521195843
Number Of Pages: 270

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Restoration London's leading actor and theatre manager Thomas Betterton has not been the subject of a biography since 1891. He worked with all the best-known playwrights of his age and with the first generation of English actresses; he was intimately involved in the theatre's responses to politics, and became a friend of leading literary men such as Pope and Steele. His innovations in scenery and company management, and his association with the dramatic inheritance of Shakespeare, helped to change the culture of English theatre. David Roberts's entertaining study unearths new documents and draws fresh conclusions about this major but shadowy figure. It contextualizes key performances and examines Betterton's relationship to patrons, colleagues and family, as well as to significant historical moments and artefacts. The most substantial study available of any seventeenth-century actor, Thomas Betterton gives one of England's greatest performing artists his due on the tercentenary of his death.

'Roberts's biography of Betterton is the first one of that leading actor and theater manager to have been published since 1891 - clearly an overdue scholarly treatment and one that is impressive for its extensive use of archival materials, from the British Library and beyond.' Devoney Looser, Studies in English Literature
'This is an important book, and a valuable addition to the modest amount of modern writing we have on Betterton compared to that on the next great English actor-manager, David Garrick.' Kenneth Richards, Theatre Research International
'This scrupulously researched biography ... plugs a gaping hole in the history of London's theatres.' Studies in Theatre and Performance
This scrupulously researched biography, notwithstanding the long labors of Judith Milhous, plugs a gaping hole in the history of London's theaters. It was, above all, Pepys and Cibber (and, for more specialist readers, John Downes) who forced on later generations the recognition acknowledged in the subtitle of this book [...] Always alert to the perplexity of Londoners through the last decades of the seventeenth century, Roberts presents us with a Betterton who recognized `the audience's need to revisit the past in order to make sense of the present' (p. 80). " -Peter Thomson, STP

List of illustrationsp. viii
Acknowledgementsp. ix
Note on dates and textsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Look, my lord, it comes: Betterton's Hamletp. 7
An obstinately shadowy Titan: Betterton in biographyp. 24
An actor of London: early years, 1635-1659p. 39
A walk in the park: Betterton and the scene of comedyp. 54
In the Duke's Company, 1660-1663p. 69
Equal with the highest: Thomas Betterton and Henry Harris, 1663-1668p. 83
Actor management: running the Duke's Companyp. 102
In the Company of the Duke: Betterton and Catholic politics in the 1670sp. 120
Union: Betterton and theatrical monopoly, 1682-1695p. 137
Back to the future: breakaway to semi-retirementp. 154
Books and pictures: Betterton and the Chandos Portraitp. 173
Notesp. 184
Bibliographyp. 232
Indexp. 250
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521195843
ISBN-10: 0521195845
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 270
Published: 17th June 2010
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 16.0  x 1.7
Weight (kg): 0.57