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date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In the Georgian playhouse, the performance of Shakespeare underwent a reformation during which the texts of Shakespeare, often previously liberally altered and used as raw materials for varied entertainment, became more valued. Georgian Shakespearean theatre remained highly adaptive, but also developed a quasi-religious and quasi-scientific veneration for Shakespeare as the poet of nature whose discoveries about human nature should be presented on stage. The image of Shakespeare as a natural genius went hand in hand with the development of a more natural acting style and a theatrical celebrity culture that hailed the ability of great actors, for example David Garrick, to embody Shakespeare’s great roles. The desire to understand Shakespeare’s characters in terms of underlying principles produced limitations in the staging of complex characters and plays such as Othello, Hamlet, and King Lear. Nevertheless, the Georgian stage made a crucial contribution to the development of Shakespearean performance as a knowledge-producing experience.

Keywords: Shakespeare, David Garrick, adaptations, Nahum Tate, Othello, Hamlet, King Lear, human nature, editing

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