- February 23, 2018
- Posted by: Elijah Gartin
Congratulations to PAMLA member Amanda Weldy Boyd for her recent Anthem Press publication, Staging Memory and Materiality in Eighteenth-Century Theatrical Biography.
You can see more information about the book here: http://www.anthempress.com/staging-memory-and-materiality-in-eighteenth-century-theatrical-biography
Staging Memory and Materiality in Eighteenth-Century Theatrical Biography examines theatrical biography as a nascent genre in eighteenth-century England. This study specifically focuses on Thomas Davies’ 1780 memoir of David Garrick as the first moment of mastery in the genre’s history, the three-way war for the right to tell Charles Macklin’s story at the turn of the century and James Boaden’s theatrical biography spree in the 1820s and 1830s, including the lives of John Philip Kemble, Sarah Siddons, Dorothy Jordan and Elizabeth Inchbald. Boyd’s project investigates the extent to which biographers envisioned themselves as artists, inheriting the anxiety of impermanence and correlating fear of competition that plagued their thespian subjects. It traces a suggestive, but not determinative, outline of generic development, noting the shifting generic features that emerge in context of a given work’s predecessors. Drawing heavily on primary sources, then-contemporary reviews and archival material in the form of extra-illustrated or “scrapbooked” editions of the biographies, this text is invested in the ways that the increasing emphasis on materiality was designed to consolidate, but often challenged, the biographer’s authority. This turn to materiality also authorized readerly participation, allowing readers to “co-author” biographies through the use of material insertions, asserting their own presence in the texts about beloved thespians.
Amanda Weldy Boyd, an adjunct associate professor of English at Hope International University, received her PhD from University of Southern California and her undergraduate degree from University of California, Los Angeles. She specializes in eighteenth-century theatre history, teaching courses in drama as well as literature.