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date: 02 July 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Surveying scholarship on the Georgian actress over the last thirty years, this chapter identifies sexuality as a persistent theme, examines the various ways it has been theorized, and argues that this focus threatens to limit future scholarship both methodologically and in terms of subject matter. Critically evaluating how sexuality has figured within scholarship on the Georgian actress, and identifying public sphere ideology as largely responsible for its persistence, the chapter examines how alternate theories of the public/private divide might allow us to extricate discussion around actresses from a focus on their sexuality. Drawing on the lives of actresses including Dorothy Jordan, Charlotte Charke, and Sarah Siddons, the chapter demonstrates how such an approach might offer new perspectives on the Georgian actress as well as opening up hitherto unexamined areas of these women’s lives for scholarly investigation.

Keywords: public sphere, women’s history, actress, whore, sexuality, Dorothy Jordan, Sarah Siddons, Charlotte Charke

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