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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The inclusion of Georgian women playwrights in our teaching and scholarship have enriched what we have come to see as a complex, complicated, and diverse theatre culture. This chapter explores the ways in which women playwrights integrate topical matters of gender, London social life, medicine and science, nationalism and colonialism in their dramas. Women writing for stage exercised innovation and creativity with dramatic forms they inherited. They cleverly embedded controversial subjects, displaced historically and geographically, disguised as innocuous subtext, and resolved by a conventional denouement, so as to circumvent royal censorship and discerning audiences. Hannah Cowley, Elizabeth Griffith, Frances Burney, Joanna Baillie, Elizabeth Inchbald, Jane Scott, Sophia Lee, Mariana Starke, Olivia Clarke, Felicia Hemans, and Hannah More overcame theatre’s gender barriers to contribute courageously to the period’s politically inflected drama and to demonstrate just how thoroughly Georgian culture was performative and theatrical.

Keywords: women playwrights, canon, gender, theatre, cross-dressing, medicine, nationalism, colonialism, temporality

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