Duncan draws on an extraordinary range of archival material in relation to each of her subjects...The book provides a welcome antidote to prevailing assumptions surrounding some of these celebrated actresses. (Lucie Sutherland, Times Literary Supplement)
Duncan's book is an energetic and greatly illuminating study of everything that orbited the world of Shakespeare's women and theatre within the discourse and context of the fin de siècle. Duncan brilliantly handles the domestic and theatrical roles of performing women, all the time balancing these opposing realms against the commercial, moral and social expectations thrust upon the women of theatre. Her attention to detail in the reconstruction of performances and their reception is commendable, and while impeccably learned, Duncan's narrative style is accessible, engaging and a meaningful contribution to both theatre history and Victorian Shakespeare Studies. (Anjna Chouhan, Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies)
This is a book of great range, but also great depth. It reads with an ease facilitated by mastery of the performers and the frames surrounding them, taking the discussion of domestic, sexual and theatric roles of women to a new level of complexity. Its discussion of the diversity of response, including many reviews outside London, and carefully modifying ideas of recent critical writing as well as that of the period, offers itself as a model for future writing. The precision, brevity and clear, jargon-free style also makes it highly enjoyable to read. (Stuart Sillars, Studies in Theatre and Performance)
About the Author
Sophie Duncan is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Magdalen College, University of Oxford. Her principal research interests are in Early Modern and nineteenth-century drama, theatre history, cognitive approaches to literature, and cultural memory. She has published on fin-de-siècle Gothic culture, Shakespeare, and celebrity. Beyond academia, she works regularly as a historical advisor and dramaturg for theatre, radio, and television.