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date: 18 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the Chicago receptions of an 1867 touring production of Ernest Legouvé’s Medea, starring the Italian actress Adelaide Ristori. Noting the adaptation’s engagement with women’s rights, along with a burgeoning women’s movement in Chicago, it asks whether the production offers a precedent to the politically charged adaptations of Greek tragedy that proliferated in twentieth- and twenty-first-century Chicago. It uses newspaper reviews to partially reconstruct the play’s receptions. It focuses, in particular, on the impact of touring conditions and press coverage on the circulation of the play’s political message. The chapter also reflects upon the historiographical challenges of analyzing the receptions of political theater on the commercial stage in nineteenth-century America.

Keywords: Medea, Chicago, touring production, Ernest Legouvé, Adelaide Ristori, women's rights, nineteenth century, political theater, reception, Greek tragedy

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