"Lively and provocative."—Byron JournalCloset Stages examines theater theory produced by middle- and upper-class British women-playwrights, actresses, and spectators-between 1790 and 1840. Shifting the focus away from the Romantic male writers to the journals, letters, and play prefaces in which women framed their relationship to the theater arts, Catherine Burroughs reveals how a concern with the performative aspects of daily life and the movement between public and private spheres produced a notion of theater that complicates the Romantic opposition between "closet" and "stage."
"This is the book we have been waiting for: the first to place the much-studied and by now canonical 'mental theater' of such Romantic poets as Byron, Coleridge, Keats, Wordsworth, and Shelley in the far more illuminating context of the dramatic writing and theater criticism of the leading playwright of the romantic period in England, Joanna Baillie."—Anne Mellor, University of California, Los Angeles
"Closet Stages is an important book, not only for its astute readings and clear vision of what theater scholarship should look like but also for its unwavering sense of the importance of women's cultural production to our overall understanding of the fabric of nineteenth-century life."—Daniel O'Quinn, Nineteenth-Century Literature
"An important book for redefining what texts are central to discussions of women's writing and dramaturgy in the Romantic period and for offering a theoretical frame in which to pursue criticism of such texts."—Essays in Theatre/Etudes thetrales
Catherine B. Burroughs is Professor of English at Wells College.