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The Portable Theater: American Literature & the Nineteenth-Century Stage

by Ackerman, Alan L., Jr. A

  • ISBN: 9780801861611
  • ISBN10: 0801861616

The Portable Theater: American Literature & the Nineteenth-Century Stage

by Ackerman, Alan L., Jr. A

  • List Price: $52.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publish date: 11/01/1999
  • ISBN: 9780801861611
  • ISBN10: 0801861616
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Description: "I ought to acknowledge my debt to actors, singers, public speakers, conventions, and the Stage in New York, " Walt Whitman confessed toward the end of his life, "and to plays and operas generally."In The Portable Theater, Alan Ackerman investigates the crucial importance of theater in the works of Whitman, Herman Melville, William Dean Howells, Louisa May Alcott, and Henry James. Whether as drama critics, playwrights, amateur actors, or simply as avid theater-goers, each of these authors thought deeply about the theater and represented it in literature.

Ackerman argues that the importance of theater in the works of these authors can be seen in the prolific and innovative use of theatrical metaphors, the widespread use of historically contingent theatrical idioms, and in aspects of literary form which represent dramaturgical methods. The Portable Theater provides new ways of understanding problems ranging from the idiosyncracies of Melville's prose style to the much-pondered differences between the early and late James. Recognizing the influences of drama on other genres, Ackerman concludes, leads to a greater understanding of not only the ethical and artistic significance of nineteenth-century American letters but also the rich complexities of particular American lives.

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