Stage Mothers: Women, Work, and the Theatre, 1660-1830

Laura Engel, Elaine McGirr

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This collection of essays explores the connection(s) between working mothers and the theater both on and off stage throughout the long eighteenth century. Although the realities of eighteenth-century motherhood and representations of maternity have been investigated in relation to the novel, the idea of motherhood and its connection to the theatre as a professional, material, literary, and cultural site has received little critical attention. This collection addresses this gap, focusing on: the representation of motherhood as the defining female role; the interplay between an actress’s celebrity persona and her chosen roles; the performative balance between the ‘cult of maternity’ and that of the ‘passionate’ actress; and tensions between sex and maternity and/or maternity and public authority. Essays span the long eighteenth century, with four essays dedicated to the plays and players of the Restoration and early eighteenth century, two dedicated to mid-century material, and four looking at the Romantic and Regency periods. The essays examine both the representations and realities of maternity in the long eighteenth century, looking at written, received and performed records of motherhood.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherBucknell University Press / Associated University Presses
Number of pages286
ISBN (Print)978-1611486056, 978-1611486032
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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