Used very good, light shelf wear only. Includes bibliographic detail, references and 17 illustrations.
In the fall of 1723, two London theatres staged almost simultaneous pantomime performances of the Faust story. Unlike traditional five-act plays, pantomime--a bawdy hybrid of dance, music, spectacle, and commedia dell'arte featuring the familiar figure of the harlequin at its centre--was a theatrical experience of unprecedented accessibility. The immediate popularity of this new genre created the first instance of youth culture in modern Europe and pantomime became the subject of lively debate within British society. In Harlequin Britain, O'Brien examines this new form of entertainment and the effect it had on British culture. Why did pantomime become so popular so quickly? Why was it perceived as culturally threatening and socially destabilising? Written in a lively style rich with anecdotes, Harlequin Britain establishes the emergence of eighteenth-century English pantomime, with its promiscuous blending of genres and subjects, as a key moment in the development of modern entertainment culture.
'John O'Brien's Harlequin Britain is an original and provocative study of the ways in which pantomime, entertainment, and modernity are entwined in English culture' Robert Markley, University of Illinois