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Look Inside Slavery and Sentiment on the American Stage, 1787–1861

Slavery and Sentiment on the American Stage, 1787–1861
Lifting the Veil of Black

Part of Cambridge Studies in American Theatre and Drama

  • Date Published: January 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107412880

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About the Authors
  • For almost a hundred years before Uncle Tom's Cabin burst on to the scene in 1852, the American theatre struggled to represent the evils of slavery. Slavery and Sentiment questions how the text, images, and performances presented to American audiences during the antebellum period engaged with the debate over black participation in American society. The book reconsiders traditional comic stereotypes like Jim Crow, as well as familiar sentimental ones, such as Uncle Tom. Using plays, poetry, performances, popular novels, and political cartoons, Heather Nathans blends American history, theatre history, and literary history to question how theatre and performance lifted the 'veil of black' on American racism in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The book contributes to the ongoing discussion of the role of African-American characters and performers in American cultural history, offering scholars in a range of fields a new perspective on a complicated moment in the nation's theatrical past.

    • Examines a range of different genres - plays, poetry, popular novels, performances, and political cartoons - and contextualizes these works within the historical events of the period
    • Provides a new perspective in covering positive, non-stereotype representations of African Americans in pre-Civil War America
    • Will be of interest to scholars and students of American, theatre and literary history
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Nathans shows us some of the ways in which the representation of such characters' cunning and foolishness, pathos and nakedness, were felt to be powerful and important on the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century stage.' Performing Ethos

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107412880
    • length: 288 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    1. A nation's promise
    2. The rules change
    3. Fantasies of Africa
    4. Sentimental enterprise - Yankees and Sambos
    5. Peace or a sword?
    6. Lead us not into temptation
    Epilogue.

  • Author

    Heather S. Nathans, University of Maryland, College Park

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